Austin, British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1850-1851

Scope and Content

  • MS 1333;D Message, 1850-1851 [For distribution by balloon, Franklin search] printed on yellow silk
  • MS 1482/1-3;D Playbills, 1851 [Printed in HMS Assistance] 3 leaves

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, 1850-1851 (leader Horatio Austin) was to search for the missing expedition via Baffin Bay and Lancaster Sound. Four ships HMS Resolute (Austin), HMS Assistance (Erasmus Ommanney), HMS Intrepid (John Cator) and HMS Pioneer (Sherard Osborn) sailed from London.

The expedition joined with the British Franklin Search Expedition, 1850 (leader Charles Forsyth), the British Franklin Search Expedition, 1850-1851 (leader William Penny), the British Franklin Search Expedition, 1850-1851 (leader Sir John Ross) and the United States Franklin Search Expedition, 1850-1851 (leader Edwin De Haven). The expeditions proved that Franklin had wintered at Beechey Island. Costal surveys, sledging expeditions and scientific observations were conducted during the expedition.



Related Material

The Institute holds several archival collections containing material relating to this expedition see SPRI collections GB 15 John Cator, GB 15 Sir Francis Leopold McClintock, GB 15 Sir Erasmus Ommanney, GB 15 Sherard Osborn GB 15 James Elliott, GB 15 Sir Clements Markham, GB 15 George Mecham and GB 15 Robert Allen