The collection comprises of correspondence written by Couch during the early stages of the British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition, 1845-1848 (leader Sir John Franklin)
Edward Couch collection
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- ReferenceGB 15 Edward Couch
- Dates of Creation1845
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish.
- Physical DescriptionCorrespondence (2 leaves)
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
Edward Couch served as mate in HMS Erebus on the British Naval Northwest Passage Expedition, 1845-1848 (leader Sir John Franklin), sent to search for a Northwest Passage beyond Lancaster Sound and Barrow Strait in the unexplored region south-west of Barrow Strait. Sailing from London in company with HMS Terror in May 1845, the expedition was last seen heading for Lancaster Sound by two whalers in northern Baffin Bay in late July 1845. After that, the expedition disappeared and its members were never again seen alive by Europeans. Couch probably died in 1848. He was promoted lieutenant in May 1847 during the expedition.
Many searches were conducted for the missing expedition, during the course of which 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 had spent two winters between September 1846 and April 1848. Franklin died on 11 June 1847 and the command had devolved on Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier. Abandoning the two vessels on 22 April 1848, the 105 survivors led by Crozier set out toward Back River. All perished during the journey.
The correspondence is arranged chronologically
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Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Arctic, exploration and development c500 BC to 1915, an encyclopaedia by Clive Holland Garland Publishing, London (1994) ISBN number 0824076486 and Exploring Polar Frontiers, a historical encyclopaedia by William Mills San Diego and Oxford, 2003 and British polar exploration and research, a historical and medallic record with biographies 1818-1999 by Lieutenant Colonel Neville W Poulsom and Rear Admiral John A L Myres, Savannah Publications, London (2000) SPRI Library Shelf 737.2
Other Finding Aids
Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue, Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.
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