Franklin Expedition: Disappearance; Discoveries; Conspiracy?

A

Anonymous

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#1
Does anyone know of the conspiracy regarding the loss of the Franklin Expedition during the search for the Northwest Passage?

There has been considerable evidence to prove that the Admirality made certain that he was not found. They made sure nobody found the messages left in the he set up.

Radiation, not lead poisoning or starvation was the main culprit.

What did John Clark Ross find on Victory Point on King William Island? What scared William Parry out of the Arctic?

Lt. Crozier's camera is said to be left in Northern Canada with proof of something ominous and devastating for mankind.

Has anyone tried to find out what the admirality was hiding?
 
A

Anonymous

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Sounds like you're playing to a lurking Great Old One hypothesis, Nemesis. Probably best to start with the evidence for your opening statements.
 
A

Anonymous

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#3
I can thoroughly recommend Fergus Fleming's book 'Barrow's Boys' (currently available in paperback) which deals in depth with Franklin's expeditions to discover the NW passage.

Fleming indicates that, despite great public outcry, the Admiralty didn't go to great lengths to discover what happened to Franklin's last ill-fated expedition because funding was in short supply and because Franklin was out of favour with Barrow who headed the Admiralty at the time.


Imperturbable
 
A

Anonymous

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#4
No great mystery to it - plenty of bodies and artefacts have been rcovered over the years, and an expedition has been mounted to find one of the ships, the approximate location of which has been preserved in Inuit lore. This lore makes no mention of the great mystery referred to in the OP; lots of people forget that the Arctic has been inhabited and explored for many centuries - several of the European exploration expeditions could not have succeeded without Inuit help.This page says the Franklin expedition was lost because of lead poisoning from the canned food.
There were expeditions to the area before - the Ross expedition, for one - and there have been many more since. You can even go on the Franklin Trail nowadays.

William Parry made a total of four Arctic journeys. He had to abandon one (in 1825) when his ship was damaged by ice and poor sailing conditions stopped him carrying on in another ship. His other three expeditions went quite satisfactorily and ended to plan; at no time was he ever "scared" from the Arctic. Indeed, after the 1825 failure, he was back again in 1827.
As to Lt. Crozier's camera, wasn't William Beard the Franklin expedition's photographer?
 
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#5
Imperturbable said:
I can thoroughly recommend Fergus Fleming's book 'Barrow's Boys' (currently available in paperback) which deals in depth with Franklin's expeditions to discover the NW passage.
Great book. I always find it vaguely amusing that one of the driving factors in the great period of British exploration was that they couldn't find anything else to do with the vast numbers of surplus officers in the Royal Navy after the Napoleonic Wars.

I too can't remember any conspiracy being attached to the Franklin epedition although I think there was an attempt to cover up the rumours of cannibalism amongst the longest surviving members of the group.
 
A

Anonymous

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#6
Also rather amusing that during his previous expedition to the Arctic, Franklin's party were so low on food that they had to resort to eating their boots!
 
A

Anonymous

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#7
Please excuse my vast ignorance, but what is said expecitiong and where is said passage supposed to be from and to?
Cheers!:D
 
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Anonymous

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Hi Main Man

The expedition was to discover a sea route linking the Atlantic to the Pacific via the cold icy seas intermingled with wiggly bits of land between the North of Canada and the Arctic Ocean.

The British Admiralty launched a succession of expeditions to discover such a sea route during the mid nineteenth century.

The reasons for this were that such a route would greatly diminish the journey time between Britain and the Pacific (plus no need to negotiate Cape Horn with all the risk that entails).

Also at that time in history the Napleonic wars were over and Britain had large numbers of ships and men standing idle: so why not send them to a probable icy dom in the frozen North.

A reliably navigable NW passage was never discussed due to the short and unpredictable season of ice melt. These days we have ice breakers, the Panama canal and air freight.

I hope that helps
Imperturbable:)
 

rynner2

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#10
Canada seeks historic shipwrecks

A Canadian team is to search for two ships lost in an 1845 expedition to find the Northwest Passage.

The British ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were trapped in the Arctic ice as Sir John Franklin sought a northern route from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

He and his 128 crew died - although their exact fate remains a mystery - and the ships were never found.

Canadian environment minister John Baird says the search has "the allure of an Indiana Jones movie".

Retreating Arctic ice has made the Northwest Passage much more accessible and Canada is also using the search as a way of asserting its sovereignty over the region.

The exploration team is due to fly out on Saturday to join a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker that will use sonar equipment to search an area south of King William Island.

Corpses

They will also use oral history from the native Inuit to provide clues about where to look.

Frozen corpses, believed to be those of some of the crew of the Franklin Expedition, have been found in the past along the route.

Theories for their demise have included tinned food poisoned by lead and stories from the Inuit of cannibalism among the doomed men.

"Canada will now embark on its own journey... (on) the search for these two vessels, which has the allure of an Indiana Jones mystery," said Mr Baird, alluding to the fictional adventurer.

"The Franklin Expedition is a key part of Canada's history of Arctic exploration. As Canada is once again asserting ourselves and protecting our sovereignty in the High Arctic, this expedition will provide important new information and will add to the body of research on the fate of these ships."

The initial search will last six weeks, followed by further explorations in 2009 and 2010 if needed. If the ships or any artefacts are found, the British government has agreed to assign ownership to Canada.

Mr Baird said it was important for Canada to assert its sovereignty over the Arctic regions in a variety of ways - historically, environmentally, militarily and in the use of resources.

As global warming shrinks the Arctic ice, Russia, the US, Canada, Denmark, Iceland and Norway all stake claims to areas potentially rich in gas and oil.

"We have staked our claim. It's use it or lose it. For far too long our country has not had a strong presence in the far north," Mr Baird said.

Canada says that the waterways of the Northwest Passage are Canadian rather than international waters - a view disputed by other countries, including the US and Britain.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said Canada will buy new Arctic patrol ships, increase aerial surveillance and expand the Canadian Rangers military unit in the region.

He is due to tour Arctic regions later in August.

"Oil and mineral resources in the far north, gas reserves... put it higher on the agenda than it would have been even just a year ago," Mr Baird said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7564570.stm
 

Naughty_Felid

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#11
Did not one of the ships keep on sailing crewless for years after it was abandoned for being icebound the theory being at some later point it broke free from the ice? I'm sure I read somewhere it was often spotted and boarded by local Inuit hunters years after the demise of the Franklin expedition?
 

PeniG

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#12
You're thinking of the 1851 sighting off the coast of Newfoundland by the ship Renovation. The ships were not free-floating but were in an iceberg, one upright, one heeled over. This is not a surprising fate, as Arctic ocean ice calves icebergs all the time and in any case the floes are riding on the current and never remain still even in the dead of winter. It's one of the things that makes Arctic terrain so punishingly difficult to cross; you're on a moving surface likely to bunch up against adjacent floes overnight night, creating a pressure ridge and joining up, or divide in two parts that drift away from eachother in the morning.
 

EnolaGaia

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#13
Then there's HMS _Resolute_, a ship dispatched to search for Franklin. It became icebound in 1853 and was abandoned. Two years later it was found adrift in ice (far to the east, as with the _Renovation_ sighting) and was eventually restored and returned to the UK.
 

Bigphoot2

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#14

Swifty

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#15
'Buried In Ice' : A documentary about the Franklin expedition mummies ..

 

rynner2

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#16
Hunt for the Arctic Ghost Ship
Repeat
Today 7:05pm - 8pm Channel 4

Review
by Jack Seale
One of the great maritime mysteries was solved in September 2014. If you missed news reports about the fate of Captain Sir John Franklin’s exploration of the Arctic, you’ll enjoy the drama of the search as this film unfolds. Franklin sailed west in 1845, hoping to traverse the uncharted Northwest Passage, the route through the archipelago north of Canada that leads to the Pacific. He and his 128 men were lost, their two ships never found.

Nowadays even modern boats struggle to stay safe amid the shifting ice. More respect for the local people as well as the conditions would have helped initial investigations, too: we could have wrapped this up years ago if we’d just asked the Inuits.

Summary
Cameras follow the multi-million-dollar expedition that discovered the Victorian ship HMS Erebus, intact and upright on the Arctic sea floor in September 2014. The story unfolds in the freezing Arctic, where search vessels battled with heavy sea-ice that threatened to stop the search entirely, to the dramatic chain of events that led to the historic discovery.

http://www.radiotimes.com/tv-programme/e/dqjyp8/hunt-for-the-arctic-ghost-ship

It will probably be on 4oD later.
 

EnolaGaia

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#17
What Doomed Franklin's Polar Expedition? Thumbnail Holds Clue

For 170 years, scientists, historians and amateur sleuths alike have been trying to figure out what led to the demise of the Franklin Expedition, one of the deadliest disasters in polar exploration, which left all 129 crew members dead in the Canadian Arctic.

Now, a fingernail may hold clues about the fate of these men.

Researchers were able to reconstruct some information about the health and diet of one of Sir John Franklin's men in the weeks before his death, based on chemicals stored in his fingernail. Their study, published Dec. 6 in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, offers further evidence against the theory that lead poisoning played a role in the expedition's fateful end. ...
SOURCE: http://www.livescience.com/57176-what-doomed-franklin-polar-expedition.html

Capsule summary ... Lead levels from Franklin crew remains were 'high' by modern standards, but not for their time. The researchers found evidence of a chronic zinc deficiency in one corpse. Such a deficiency could itself be debilitating, and it might have resulted from over-reliance on low-zinc tinned meats and a lack of fresh meat.
 

Naughty_Felid

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#18
SOURCE: http://www.livescience.com/57176-what-doomed-franklin-polar-expedition.html

Capsule summary ... Lead levels from Franklin crew remains were 'high' by modern standards, but not for their time. The researchers found evidence of a chronic zinc deficiency in one corpse. Such a deficiency could itself be debilitating, and it might have resulted from over-reliance on low-zinc tinned meats and a lack of fresh meat.

Has anyone read anything about radiation poisoning mentioned by the OP? I read "Barrow Boys" a few years back, and keep my eye out for Franklin stuff but can't say I seen anything relating to radiation poisoning.

The Admiralty dispatched a few searches if my memory serves me right as well.
 

EnolaGaia

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#19
Has anyone read anything about radiation poisoning mentioned by the OP? I read "Barrow Boys" a few years back, and keep my eye out for Franklin stuff but can't say I seen anything relating to radiation poisoning. ...
My guess is that the OP was referring to:

The Franklin Conspiracy - Cover-up, Betrayal, and the Astonishing Secret Behind the Lost Arctic Expedition
By Jeffrey Blair Latta
Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2001

This book would have been 'recent' as of the OP's posting in January 2003.

Latta's book appears to have posited an extremely speculative theory on the Franklin expedition's fate involving a race of giants and radiation poisoning caused by that mystery race's technology.

The book (or at least portions of it) can be accessed at Google Books:

https://books.google.com/books?id=4...epage&q=franklin expedition radiation&f=false

Reviews / comments on the book can be found at:

http://www.ric.edu/faculty/rpotter/owen_latta.html
http://www.pulpanddagger.com/pulpmag/editorial4.html
http://www.quillandquire.com/review...ing-secret-behind-the-lost-arctic-expedition/
 

RyoHazuki

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#20
SOURCE: http://www.livescience.com/57176-what-doomed-franklin-polar-expedition.html

Capsule summary ... Lead levels from Franklin crew remains were 'high' by modern standards, but not for their time. The researchers found evidence of a chronic zinc deficiency in one corpse. Such a deficiency could itself be debilitating, and it might have resulted from over-reliance on low-zinc tinned meats and a lack of fresh meat.
The fact that Goldners did such a last-minute rush job with the provisions makes me think that there could have been a large number of things wrong with the meat, on top of the high lead/low zinc issues. I'd always assumed that whatever samples were taken from the corpses had been tested for signs of biological infection, but perhaps not?

I'm not entirely sure how that situation arose either - was the contract only tendered with very short notice or did the Admiralty drag their feet deciding who to award it to? I'd also heard variously (can't remember where) that Goldners had little or no experience of provisioning large expeditions and low-balled everyone else to get it, and conversely that they were the only bidders as no-one else would agree to such a short timescale... In any case, that screw-up alone would be enough to justify a cover-up by today's standards, no need to bring nuclear ice-giants into it!
 
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#21
...Latta's book appears to have posited an extremely speculative theory on the Franklin expedition's fate involving a race of giants and radiation poisoning caused by that mystery race's technology...
Yeah, that’s always a worry. People organising expeditions like this tend to get so completely distracted by things like hypothermia, starvation, lack of potable water etc that they forget all about the giant nuclear powered Eskimos. Tsk!

Happens to adventurers all the time: Mallory’s mistake was to prepare for a mountaineering expedition without taking into account the giant clockwork Tibetan flying vampire eels.
 

rynner2

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#22
A recent Bargain Hunt came from Topsham in Devon, and the programme revealed that HMS Terror, one of Franklin's two ships, was built there in 1813. I hadn't known that, but I knew Topsham in my student days, back in the 60s.

HMS Terror was a bomb vessel constructed for the Royal Navy in 1813. She participated in several battles of the War of 1812, including the bombardment of Fort McHenry. Later converted into a polar exploration ship, she participated in George Back's Arctic expedition of 1836–1837, the Ross expedition of 1839 to 1843, and Sir John Franklin's ill-fated attempt to force the Northwest Passage in 1845, during which she was lost with all hands along with HMS Erebus.
...

On 12 September 2016, the Arctic Research Foundation announced that the wreck of Terror had been found in Nunavut's Terror Bay, off the southwest coast of King William Island. The wreck was discovered 92 km (57 mi) south of the location where the ship was reported abandoned, and some 50 km (31 mi) from the wreck of HMS Erebus, discovered in 2014.
...

On 8 September 2014, it was announced that the wreckage of one of Franklin's ships was found on 7 September using a remotely operated underwater vehicle recently acquired by Parks Canada.[12][13] On 1 October 2014, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the remains were that of Erebus.[14]

On 12 September 2016, a team from the Arctic Research Foundation announced that a wreck close to Terror's description had been located on the southern coast of King William Island in the middle of Terror Bay (68°54′N 98°56′W), at a depth of 69–79 ft (21–24 m).[8][15] The remains of the ships are designated a National Historic Site of Canada with the exact location withheld to preserve the wrecks and prevent looting.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Terror_(1813)

A sad end for a ship built in a cosy little Devon town, all those years ago...
 

RaM

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#23
Just staying alive in the Arctic or Antarctic is a Major problem
even now without actually doing anything useful.
 

EnolaGaia

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#24
(I'm posting here because this is the only FTMB thread specifically dedicated to the Franklin expedition)

Frozen in Time: DNA May ID Sailors Looking for Northwest Passage in 1845

Scientists have extracted DNA from the skeletal remains of several 19th-century sailors who died during the ill-fated Franklin Expedition, whose goal was to navigate the fabled Northwest Passage.

With a new genetic database of 24 expedition members, researchers hope they'll be able to identify some of the bodies scattered in the Canadian Arctic, 170 years after one of the worst disasters in the history of polar exploration.

The results were published April 20 in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. ...


In the latest look at the array of bones, a team led by Douglas Stenton of Nunavut's Department of Culture and Heritage, a territory in northern Canada, conducted the first genetic tests on members of the expedition who died following the desertion of the ships.

Stenton and his colleagues were able to get DNA from 37 bone and tooth samples found at eight different sites around King William Island, and they established the presence of at least 24 different members of the expedition. Twenty-one of these individuals had been found at locations around Canada's Erebus Bay, "confirming it as a location of some importance following the desertion of Erebus and Terror," Stenton told Live Science. ...


Four samples in the study were identified as female, which doesn't fit with the picture of an all-male expedition crew. The authors ruled out the possibility that these samples came from Inuit women because the genetic and archaeological evidence associated with these four individuals also suggests they were European.

"We were surprised by the results for those samples because in planning the analysis it hadn't occurred to us that there might have been women on board," Stenton told Live Science.

Stenton and his colleagues think the most likely explanation for this discrepancy is that ancient DNA studies commonly fail to amplify the Y chromosome (the male sex chromosome) due to insufficient quantity or quality of DNA, which can result in false female identifications of the dead. However, the researchers noted that it wasn't unheard of for women to serve in disguise in the Royal Navy. ...
FULL STORY: http://www.livescience.com/58797-dna-sailors-on-1845-arctic-expedition.html
 

EnolaGaia

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#25
Here's a new theory on the Franklin crews' medical woes - one focused on Addison's disease, which is often correlated with tuberculosis (which has previously been detected in the corpses) ...

A Dentist Weighs in On What Really Doomed the Franklin Expedition
Addison’s disease may have blackened the explorers’ gums and hastened their demise, proposes a history-obsessed dentistry professor
FULL STORY: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/scien...e-nature+(Science+&+Nature+|+Smithsonian.com)
 

Jape89

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#26
Very interesting article EG - I've always found the lead poisoning theory a bit odd - Napoleon took tinned food into Russia in 1812, it wasn't some experimental things at the time of the Franklin Expedition. Surely the lead issue would have been raised by other expeditions that came home?
 

EnolaGaia

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#27
Very interesting article EG - I've always found the lead poisoning theory a bit odd - Napoleon took tinned food into Russia in 1812, it wasn't some experimental things at the time of the Franklin Expedition. Surely the lead issue would have been raised by other expeditions that came home?
Possibly ... Claims that lead was toxic actually date back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. In Western medicine there were acknowledgments of lead's health effects from the mid-second-millennium onward. It's not as if lead poisoning / toxicity wasn't recognized by the time of the Franklin expedition.

There's no question the Franklin crews exhibited elevated lead levels. The question is whether this necessarily meant lead poisoning was the key cause of death. The consensus opinion seems to be that lead's role has been downgraded from primary cause to contributing cause (by weakening the men generally, so that other ills such as tuberculosis could finish them off).

It also needs to be borne in mind that the expedition's tinned provisions were shoddily packaged so as to expose the crews to lead to a degree previous large-scale users probably hadn't suffered. The expedition's provisions weren't contracted until mere weeks prior to setting sail, and the contractor's haste resulted in sloppy work and widespread intrusions of lead solder into the tins' interiors. This was known to be bad practice even then.
 

EnolaGaia

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#29
Here's an update - new research results on the lead levels and their implications ...

Strands of hair from member of Franklin expedition provide new clues into mystery
A new analysis of human hair taken from the remains of one of the members of the Franklin expedition, is providing further evidence that lead poisoning was just one of many different factors contributing to the deaths of the crew, and not the primary cause, casting new doubt on the theory that has been the subject of debate amongst scientists and historians for decades. ...

Anthropologists from McMaster University used specialized techniques to measure lead concentrations in hair samples taken from the skeletal remains believed to belong to Henry Goodsir, a Scottish physician and scientist on the expedition. Because hair grows incrementally--approximately one centimetre per month--researchers could specifically measure changes in Goodsir's exposure to lead during the last weeks of his life.

"The lead burden we measured was calculated right until the time of death of Goodsir, which provides another new piece of information in this puzzle," says Lori D'Ortenzio, lead author of the paper and a researcher in the Department of Anthropology at McMaster University.

The findings are published online in The Journal for Archaeological Science: Reports. Researchers compared lead concentrations over three centimetres of hair, representing a three-month period before the death of Goodsir, who died sometime between September 1846 and early 1848.

The team also conducted an isotopic analysis to pinpoint possible sources of the lead, which likely included tinned food, medicines and lead pipes used for the ship's water tanks. The tests confirmed Goodsir was exposed to identical or similar sources of lead as other victims found on King William and Beechey Islands, as determined in previous research studies.

While those lead levels were high by today's standards, researchers found the toxicity was not high enough to worsen other mental and physical symptoms the men were suffering as they attempted to survive the harsh conditions. ...

And while lead burdens may have exacerbated the physical decline of the men in the final months of the expedition, by then, the fatal end was inevitable, say researchers.
SOURCE: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-09/mu-soh090518.php
 

rpkemp

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#30
Thanks Enola Gaia for thawing out this old thread - it's the first time I've seen it.

I felt I should mention that my first cousin three times removed, Sir John Richardson, took part in an expedition to search for Franklin in 1848, as described here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rae–Richardson_Arctic_Expedition.

That page refers to efforts by the Admiralty to suppress or ignore evidence that Franklin's men had to resort to cannibalism to survive - as mentioned in some of the previous comments here.
 
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