Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Muster

Fourteen of the officers of HMS Terror and HMS Erebus, print from Richard Beard's famous daguerreotypes. A great discussion of the daguerreotypes can be read here and here.

HMS Erebus:


Sir John Franklin, Captain, Commanding the Expedition
James Fitzjames, Commander
Graham Gore, Lieutenant
H.T.D. Le Vesconte, Lieutenant
James Walter Fairholme, Lieutenant
Robert Orme Sergeant, Mate
Charles Frederick Des Voeux, Mate
Edward Couch, Mate
Henry Foster Collins, Second Master
James Reid, Ice Master
Stephen Samuel Stanley, Surgeon
Harry D.S. Goodsir, Assistant Surgeon
Charles Hamilton Osmer, Purser

Warrant Officers

John Gregory, Engineer
Thomas Terry, Boatswain
John Weekes, Carpenter

Petty Officers

John Murray, Sailmaker, age 43
William Smith, Blacksmith, age 28
Thomas Burt, Armorer, age 22
James W. Brown, Caulker, age 28
Francis Dunn, Caulker's Mate, age 25
Thomas Watson, Carpenter's Mate, age 40
Samuel Brown, Boatswain's Mate, age 27
Richard Wall, Ship's Cook, age 45
James Rigden, Captain's Coxwain, age 32
William Bell, Quartermaster, age 36
Daniel Arthur, Quartermaster, age 35
John Downing, Quartermaster
Robert Sinclair, Captain of the Foretop, age 25
John Sullivan, Captain of the Maintop, age 28
Phillip Reddington, Captain of the Forecastle, age 28
Joseph Andrews, Captain of the Hold, age 35
Edmund Hoar, Captain's Steward, age 23
John Bridgens, Subordinate Officers' Steward, age 26
Richard Aylmore, Gunroom Steward, age 24
William Fowler, Purser's Steward, age 26
John Cowie, Stoker
Thomas Plater, Stoker

Able Seamen

George Thompson, age 27
John Hartnell, age 25
John Stickland, age 24
Thomas Hartnell, age 23
William Orren, age 34
William Closson, age 25
Charles Coombs, age 28
John Morfin, age 25
Charles Best, age 23
Thomas McConvey, age 24
Henry Lloyd, age 26
Thomas Work, age 41
Robert Ferrier, age 29
Josephus Geater, age 32
Thomas Tadman, age 28
Abraham Seeley, age 34
Francis Pocock, age 24
Robert Johns, age 24
William Mark, age 24

Royal Marines

David Bryant, Sergeant, age 31
Alexander Pearson, Corporal, age 30
Robert Hopcraft, Private, age 38
William Pilkington, Private, age 28
William Braine, Private, age 31
Joseph Healey, Private, age 29
William Reed, Private, age 28


George Chambers, age 18
David Young, age 18

HMS Terror:


Francis Rawden Moira Crozier, Captain
Edward Little, Lieutenant
George Henry Hodgson, Lieutenant
John Irving, Lieutenant
Frederick John Hornby, Mate
Robert Thomas, Mate
Giles Alexander McBean, Second Master
Thomas Blanky, Ice Master
John Smart Peddie, Surgeon
Alexander McDonald, Assistant Surgeon
E.J. Helpman, Clerk in Charge

Warrant Officers

James Thompson, Engineer
John Lane, Boatswain
Thomas Honey, Carpenter

Petty Officers

Thomas Johnson, Boatswain's Mate, age 28
Alexander Wilson, Carpenter's Mate, age 27
Reuben Male, Captain of the Forecastle, age 27
David McDonald, Quartermaster, age 45
John Kenley, Quartermaster
William Rhodes, Quartermaster, age 31
Thomas Darlington, Caulker, age 29
Samuel Honey, Blacksmith, age 22
John Torrington, Leading Stoker, age 19
John Diggle, Cook, age 36
John Wilson, Captain's Coxwain, age 33
Thomas R. Farr, Captain of the Maintop, age 32
Harry Peglar, Captain of the Foretop, age 37
William Goddard, Captain of the Hold, age 39
Cornelius Hickey, Caulker's Mate, age 24
Thomas Jopson, Captain's Steward, age 27
Thomas Armitage , Gun-room Steward, age 40
William Gibson, Subordinate Officers' Steward, age 22
Edward Genge, Subordinate Officers' Steward, age 21
Luke Smith, Stoker, age 27
William Johnson, Stoker, age 45

Able Seamen

George J. Cann, age 23
William Strong, age 22
David Sims, age 24
John Bailey, age 21
William Jerry, age 29
Henry Sait, age 23
Alexander Berry, age 32
John Handford, age 28
John Bates, age 24
Samuel Crispe, age 24
Charles Johnson, age 28
William Shanks, age 29
David Leys, age 37
William Sinclair, age 30
Goerge Kinnaird, age 23
Edwin Lawrence, age 30
Magnus Manson, age 28
James Walker, age 29
William Wentzall, age 33

Royal Marines

Solomon Tozer, Sergeant, age 34
William Hedges, Corporal, age 30
William Heather, Private, age 37
Henry Wilkes, Private, age 28
John Hammond, Private, age 32
James Daly, Private, age 30


Robert Golding, age 19
Thomas Evans, age 18


Essential Franklin Reading

I will eventually post a comprehensive bibliography of Arctic and Franklin related readings, but for now, I set out below the books I've found so far that I consider essential Franklin texts. Consider it your basic first course in Franklin related literature.

  • Atwood, Margaret (1995) Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature -- A survey of the writing and literature about Franklin and how it has created a fundamental Canadian myth.

  • Battersby, William, "Identification of the Probable Source of the Lead Poisoning Observed in Members of the Franklin Expedition", Journal of the Hakluyt Society (September 2008) -- On the cutting edge of theorizing about what doomed the expedition from the outset and builds on the groundbreaking work by Beattie.

  • Beattie, Owen, and Geiger, John (first published: 1989, updated paper back edition: 2004) Frozen in Time: Unlocking the Secrets of the Franklin Expedition -- Groundbreaking archeological work that re-opened research into the Franklin expedition. The 2004 paperback edition updates their research to subsequent theories.

  • Berton, Pierre (1988) The Arctic Grail: The Quest for the Northwest Passage and the North Pole, 1818-1909 -- If you were to pick one book to start with, I strongly recommend The Arctic Grail, the classic book by the iconic Canadian writer historian Pierre Berton. It is an excellent survey of arctic exploration and the central role the Franklin Expedition and, more importantly, the search for Franklin had in mapping and exploring the Arctic.

  • Cookman, Scott (2000) Iceblink: The Tragic Fate of Sir John Franklin's Lost Polar Expedition -- While there is much debate about what role tinned food and food poisoning played in dooming the expedition, the rich and descriptive detail of Cookman's writing and research almost puts you right into the hull of the Terror and Erebus.

  • Lambert, Andrew (2009) Franklin: Tragic Hero of Polar Navigation -- The first comprehensive biography of Franklin really since Cyriax's Sir John Franklin's Last Expedition in 1939. I have yet to read this book, but based on Russell Potter's review, rest assured this one is on my list of must reads.

  • McGoogan, Ken (2002) Fatal Passage: The True Story of John Rae, the Arctic Hero Time Forgot -- Rae uncovered the true story of Franklin and his career and reputation was doomed for being honest about it. McGoogan tries to re-place Rae into his rightful place in history.

  • McGoogan, Ken (2005) Lady Franklin's Revenge: A True Story of Ambition, Obsession and the Remaking of Arctic History -- The story about Sir John Franklin cannot be fully understood without knowing about his ambitious and opinionated wife, Lady Jane Franklin, and her efforts to mount and continue the search for her husband. More than that, McGoogan brings her and Sir John, and the events that led to his command of the fateful expedition, to life.

  • M'Clintock, Francis I. (1860) The Voyage of the Fox in the Arctic Seas: A Narrative of the Discovery of the Fate of Sir John Franklin and His Companions -- This is the original story of the commander of the expedition that finally solved the mystery of what happened and where. And began the mystery of why and how.
  • Potter, Russel (2007) Arctic Spectacles: The Frozen North in Visual Culture -- Confession: I just got this book for Father's Day after quite some time of heavy hints and look forward to reading it. Potter illuminates the nineteenth-century fascination with visual representations of the Arctic and brings us closer to understanding why the Arctic has held such magnetic appeal through history.

  • Sandler, Martin (2006) Resolute: The Epic Search for the Northwest Passage and John Franklin, and the Discovery of the Queen's Ghost Ship -- Another onfession: this one is on my to do list.

  • Smith, Michael (2006) Captain Francis Crozier - Last Man Standing? -- The first comprehensive biography of Captain Crozier, captain of the Terror and, after the death of Franklin, commanded of the expedition. I am excited about the upcoming book by William Battersby who, it seems, will do for Captain James Fitzjames what Smith does for Crozier.

  • Woodman, David C. (1992) Unravelling the Franklin Mystery: Inuit Testimony -- Woodman is one of the first to recognise the profound importance of the Inuit testimony and to analyse it in depth (John Rae or Charles Francis Hall should probably be recognized as the first, but Woodman is one of the first contemporary researchers). He concludes from his investigations, among other startling discoveries, that the Inuit probably did visit Franklin's ships while the crew was still on board and that there were some Inuit who actually saw the sinking of one of the ships. Consider also Woodman's Strangers Among Us (1995) in which Woodman re-examines the Inuit accounts taken by Charles Francis Hall in the light of modern scholarship and re-evaluates the importance of Inuit oral traditions in his search to reconstruct the events surrounding Franklin's expedition.

  • For anyone already emersed in Arctic and Franklin writing, this list is obviously hardly the start of it. I have not even made my way through all of these yet. But they are a good start. Feel free to let me know your favourite, or to provide your own review or suggestions for further reading, in the comments or by email. You may also want to browse this quite comprehensive list of Franklin links and this comprehensive regularly updated bibliography of Franklin fiction and poetry, thanks for both to Professor Potter.

    Scanning this list you might notice something quite remarkable: just how much of the literature covering this nearly 200 year old event is so very recent. With even more on the way.

    We are truly in the midst of a genuine renaissance of writing on the lost Franklin Expedition. I hope to help foster that interest with this website. And you have just become a part of it by visiting.