Forsyth, British Franklin Search Expedition, 1850

Archive Unit

Scope and Content

  • MS 248/105;BJ Journal, 5 June to 29 September 1850, 1 volume
  • MS 1259/7;D Memorandum of the voyage of the Prince Albert to the Arctic seas and back from June to October 1850, 16 leaves, holograph

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 Franklin Search Expedition, 1850 (led by Forsyth) was sponsored by Jane, Lady Franklin and public subscription to search for the missing expedition in the region of Boothia Peninsula and Prince Regent Inlet. Making a landing at Port Leopold members examined the site of Sir James Ross's wintering. Heavy ice hampered their progress and they were unable to pass beyond Fury Point instead turning back and crossing Barrow Strait to Cape Riley on Devon Island. There, they learned of the discovery of relics of the Franklin expedition at Cape Riley and of the discovery of Franklin's winter quarters on nearby Beechey Island. The expedition returned to Britain to convey the news to Lady Franklin and the Admiralty.



Related Material

The Institute holds several archival collections containing material relating to this expedition, see SPRI collections GB 015 Sophia Cracroft, GB 015 Charles Duncan, GB 015 N A Cartwright, GB 015 Jane Franklin, GB 015 William Hogarth, GB 015 Sir William Edward Parry, GB 015 Charles Philips, GB 015 William Snow and GB 015 Charles Richard Weld

Additional Information

MS 248/105;BJ is a copy in Lady Franklin's hand

MS 1259/7;D This paper read at Royal Geographical Society, 11 November 1850, unpublished