Belcher, British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1852-1854

Scope and Content

  • MS 1044/15-17;D Records, 1852-1854 [Notes, reports, instructions] 9 leaves, (Xerox) copy
  • MS 1044/18;D Prayer to be used on the departure of the sledges, (Xerox)
  • MS 1481/1-3;D Material printed in HMS Assistance [Advertisement for the expedition's monthly journal The Queen's Illuminated Magazine. Playbill of The Queen's Arctic Theatre, 9 November 1852. List of officers and men employed on sledging parties] 3 sheets, printed on cloth
  • MS 1523/2/1;D Order to David Lyall, 9 April 1853 [Upon the departure of HM sledge Lady Franklin, Including note from Commander [C H Richards] to Lyall, 24 April 1853]
  • MS 1523/2/2;D Order to David Lyall, 11 September 1853 [Also Sherard Osborne to Lyall, 12 September 1853]
  • MS 1523/2/3;D Order to David Lyall, Alexander Armstrong and William Dornville, 10 May 1854 [Order for survey of the crews]
  • MS 1532/2/4;D Order to David Lyall, 10 May 1854 [To exchange duties pro tem with the surgeon of North Star]

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 Sir Edward Belcher), explored the regions of Wellington Channel and Melville Island in search of the missing expedition. Belcher was general commander of a squadron of five ships. HMS Assistance and HMS Pioneer (Sherard Osborn) were under his direct control while HMS Resolute (Henry Kellett) HMS Intrepid (Francis McClintock) sailed to Melvile Island (British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1850-1852) and HMS North Star (William Pullen) sailed to Beechey Island to serve as a base for the other four.

Belcher sailed up Wellington Channel discovering Northumberland Sound. Spring sledging expeditions added to this discovery. Assistance, Pioneer, Resolute and Intrepid were all abandoned during the expedition.



Alternative Form Available

MS 1044 are copies

Related Material

The Institute holds several archival collections containing material relating to this expedition, see SPRI collections GB 015 Sir George Back, GB 015 David Lyall, GB 015 Sir Francis Leopold McClintock, GB 015 Sherard Osborn and GB 015 George Strong Nares, GB 015 Sir George Richards and GB 015 George Mecham.

The Institute holds numerous archival collections for the various expeditions sent in search of Sir John Franklin's expedition.

Location of Originals

MS 1044 Originals in the University of British Columbia Library (1982)