Richards, British Naval Franklin Search Expedition, 1852-1854

Scope and Content

  • MS 768;BJ Journal, 17 August 1853 to 28 May 1854 [In HMS Assistance, including hydrographical tables] 1 volume, holograph
  • MS 769;BJ Journal, 7 December 1853 to 13 February 1854 [In HMS Assistance] 1 volume, holograph (Xerox)

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 (Richards), 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 abandoned during the expedition.



Alternative Form Available

MS 768;BJ is a typescript made 1970

Related Material

The Institute holds several archival collections containing material relating to this expedition see SPRI collections GB 15 Sir George Back, GB 15 Sir George Strong Nares, GB 15 Sherard Osborn, GB 15 Sir Francis McClintock, GB 15 Sir Edward Belcher, GB 15 David Lyall and GB 15 George Mechem

Corporate Names