Bellot, British Franklin Search Expedition, 1851-1852

Scope and Content

  • MS 248/350;D Record deposited at Port Neill, 6 September 1851 [Prince Albert] 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, 1851-1852 (leader William Kennedy) was sponsored by Jane, Lady Franklin and public subscription to search for the missing expedition in Prince Regent Inlet and the area southwest of Cape Walker, Barrow Strait. Sailing in Prince Albert Kennedy was separated from the ship and marooned for more than five weeks while his second-in-command Bellot sailed to Batty Bay to establish winter quarters before returning overland to rescue him. In February 1852, a dog sledge journey was undertaken to search the adjacent coasts, sledging south along the coast of Somerset Island and discovering a channel which Kennedy later named Bellot Strait, marking the northernmost extremity of the North American continent. Passing through the strait, the party traversed Peel Sound and continued west, crossing Prince of Wales Island to Ommanney Bay before returning to the ship in May, a journey of some 2,000 km.



Related Material

The Institute holds several archival collections containing material relating to this expedition, See SPRI collections GB 015 Jane Franklin, GB 015 Sir George Back, GB 015 Sophia Cracroft, GB 015 William Kennedy and GB 015 Sir John Richardson, GB 015 M A Dunlop and GB 015 Charles Francois Beautemps-Beaupre.

Corporate Names