The Search For Sir John Franklin 1848-1860

The search for Franklin was the next major European activity in the area. There were a number of public and private expeditions that combined a search for the remains of the Franklin Expedition with a search for the Northwest Passage and charting and discovery of new lands.

F.L. M'Clintock
Date Leader Details
1848-49 John Richardson & J. Rae They traveled in small boats along the coast from the Mackenzie River to the Coppermine River.
1848-49 James Clark Ross & E.J. Bird In HMS Enterprise and HMS Investigator they wintered at Port Leopold, and explored the western and eastern seacoast of Somerset Island.
1848-55 T.E.L. Moore & Henry Kellett The voyaged in HMS Plover and HMS Herald , wintering in Alaska carrying supplies for the expected arrival of the Franklin Expedition. While waiting they sent out small boat parties to search the northern Alaska coast.
1848-49 John Richardson & John Rae Small boat voyages along the coast from the Mackenzie to the Coppermine River.
1849-50 J. Saunders In HMS North Star they wintered at Wolstenholme Fjord and landed supplies for the arrival of the Franklin Expedition at Navy Board Inlet.
1849 Robert Shedden He was a British Subject living on the coast of China who sailed in his yacht the Nancy Dawson. He cached provisions at Refuge Inlet for any Franklin survivors who might reach that point.
1850 C.C. Forsyth He led a private expedition for Lady Jane Franklin in the yacht Prince Albert.
1850-51 Lieutenant Edwin J. DeHaven USN (1st Grinnell Expedition) He led a private United States Grinnell Expedition under naval control in the Rescue and the Advance. Dr. Elisha Kent Kane USN served with DeHaven in the Advance.
1850-51 John Ross This was a private and personal expedition by Ross, traveling in the vessels Felix and in the Mary.
1850-51 John Rae He traveled on foot and by small boat along the south coast of Victoria Island.
1850-51 H.T.Austin & E. Ommaney In HMS Resolute, HMS Assistance, HMS Pioneer and HMS Intrepid they located Franklin's winter quarters of 1845-46 on Beechey Island and Cape Riley. They explored the western shores of Prince of Wales Island and the southern shore of Melville Island from Cape Walker
1850-51 W. Penny & A. Stewart Two whaling ships were commissioned as HMS Lady Franklin and HMS Sophia.
1850-55 R.J. M'Clure   & R. Collinson He traveled as far as Cambridge Bay.Collinson wintered at Walker Bay and McClure wintered on Prince of Wales Strait (very close together) without knowing that they were both in the vicinity. McClure being something of a daredevil, the second winter sailed around to Mercy Bay where his ship was broken up in the ice. The survivors were rescued by an expedition pulling sleds traveling overland. Collinson missed the solution to the Franklin mystery by only a very short distance. Collinson wintered at Walker Bay and McClure wintered on Prince of Wales Strait (very close together) without knowing that they were both in the vicinity.
1851-52 Captain William Kennedy& Lieutenant J.R. Bellot A private expedition of Lady Jane Franklin in the vessel Prince Albert.
1852 Captain E.A. Inglefield RN He headed a private expedition in the Isabel he sailed a short distance up Smith Sound and reported that he had seen open water.
1852-54 E. Belcher & H. Kellett Traveling in HMS Assistance, HMS Resolute, HMS Pioneer, HMS Intrepid and HMS North Star he rescued the officers and men of HMS Investigator under M'Clure. Belcher abandoned HMS Resolute, HMS Pioneer, HMS Intrepid and HMS Assistance.
1853-55 Dr. Elisha Kent Kane USN (Second Grinnell Expedition) He led a Second United States Grinnell Expedition, at the request of Lady Jane Franklin. It was however more of a voyage of discovery and scientific investigation. He sailed north, in the Advance, into Smith Sound, searching for a presumed giant polynya (the Open Polar Sea) around the North Pole. He followed the lead reported by Inglefield, discovering Kane Basin, Kennedy Channel, Grinnell Land on Ellesmere Island. He wintered at Rensselaer Bay in northwest Greenland.
1855 James Anderson This HBC expedition found remains of the Franklin Expedition on Montreal Island.
1857-59 A private expedition of Lady Jane Franklin, in the Fox, searched the coast of King William Island and found the log of the Franklin Expedition.


To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John M. (2012) The Search For Sir John Franklin 1848–1860. Nauticapedia.ca 2012. http://nauticapedia.ca/Articles/Discovery_Exploration_1848_1860.php

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