Pim, British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1852-1854

Scope and Content

  • MS 241;BJ Journal, 10 March to 8 April 1853 [Sledge journey] photostat

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1845 Sir John Franklin sailed north in command of the British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition. Sent by the Admiralty the two ships HMS Erebus (Franklin) and HMS Terror (Francis Crozier) were to search for a passage via Lancaster Sound. With provisions designed to last three years the expedition sailed north in May 1845. Whalers in Baffin Bay were the last Europeans to see the two ships in July of 1845.

Many searches were conducted for the missing expedition during the course of which the main facts regarding the route taken and the final fate of the expedition were established.

The British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1852-1854 (leader Henry Kellett) was under the general command of the British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1852-1854 (leader Sir Edward Belcher), instructed by the Admiralty to search for the missing expedition in the region of Melville Island. HMS Resolute and HMS Intrepid (Francis McClintock) sailed from London in April 1852, Kellett parted from Belcher at Beechey Island and proceeded to Dealy Island off the south coast of Melville Island where he put into winter quarters. During a sledging journey in the autumn of 1852, George Mecham, first lieutenant of Resolute, discovered a note left by Robert McClure at Winter Harbour on Melville Island, describing the position of HMS Investigator which had been beset by ice in Mercy Bay since autumn 1851 (British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1850-1855 leader Richard Collinson). The crew were later rescued and transferred to Resolute and Intrepid in the spring of 1853. On the voyage home in the summer of 1853, the two ships became beset in Melville Sound and were forced to spend a further winter in the Arctic. Receiving orders from Belcher to abandon both vessels, the crews travelled to Beechey Island where they returned to England in the depot ship HMS North Star and the supply ships HMS Phoenix and HMS Talbot. In addition to the rescue of McClure, Kellett' expedition was credited with the discovery and charting of Prince Patrick, Eglinton and Emerald Islands and the completion of the charting of Melville Island.



Related Material

The Institute holds several archival collections containing material relating to this expedition, See SPRI collections GB 015 Sir George Back, GB 015 George de Bray, GB 015 George Strong Nares, GB 015 Henry Kellett, GB 015 Bedford Pim GB 015 Robert Charles Scott, GB 015 George McDougall and GB 015 Sir Francis Leopold McClintock for more information. The Institute holds extensive archival collections for Sir John Franklin.