- MS 248/380;D Notes and letter extracts to John Barrow senior and junior, 6 August 1844 to 11 July 1845 [Regarding Sir John Franklin] 14 leaves
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 15 James Fitzjames/Correspondence
- Dates of Creation1844-1845
- Name of Creator
- Physical DescriptionLetter/notes
- Direct Link
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
The correspondence comprises of letter extracts and notes written by Fitzjames during the early stages of the British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition, 1845-1848 (leader Sir John Franklin).
The British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition, 1845-1848 (leader Sir John Franklin) was to search for a Northwest Passage in the unexplored region southwest of Barrow Strait. Sailing from London in May 1845 HMS Erebus (Franklin) and HMS Terror (Crozier) were last seen heading for Lancaster Sound by two whalers in northern Baffin Bay in late July 1845. After that, the expedition disappeared and Europeans never again saw its members alive. During the course of many search expeditions the main facts regarding the route taken and final fate of the expedition were established.
The two vessels had become beset north of King William Island, where they spent two winters between September 1846 and April 1848. Franklin died on 11 June 1847 and the command devolved on Francis Crozier. Abandoning the two vessels on 22 April 1848, 105 survivors led by Crozier set out toward Back River. All perished during the journey.
By discovering a channel of communication between known points in Barrow Strait and on the north coast, Franklin's men had effectively discovered the Northwest Passage.