The finding of HMS Terror in Terror Bay of all places rocked the world of Franklinites all over the planet on September 12. She was not only found (Parks Canada has yet to confirm it) but appears to be in perfect conditions. Even most windows of her stern cabin are still intact. After Erebus was found in 2014, we all thought that she was the ship that Inuit eye witnesses said survived relatively unharmed. Although her stern cabin is severely damaged, she sits upright on the sea bed and is a wonderful sight to behold.
The images and testimony of Terror by the Arctic Research Foundation suggest an even better degree of preservation. Apparently her masts are still there, her bowsprit is whole and the ship itself does seem entirely undamaged. See a report and video hereParks Canada as the responsible agency of the search still has to confirm the find, but it seems to be only a matter of time. Now everyone interested in the Franklin expedition, experts and hobby historians alike, await the secrets this ship will disclose to the world after such a long time. Will she yield the so longed for journals and log books? Will she contain private letters and daguerreotypes? Or the remains of the men who went down with her, if any? We are looking ahead to an exciting time!
I had pondered to start this blog for quite some time now. I have long been interested in exploration history and have read a lot of books on that topic. HMS Beagle and her Captain Robert FitzRoy have fascinated me since I was 16. So I had read my share of books on Franklin, the first that really hit me being Owen Beattie and John Geiger's Frozen in Time. Nobody who ever read that book will forget the hauntingly beautiful photos of John Torrington, John Hartnell and William Braine.
The next big milestone was the discovery of HMS Erebus. When I found nobody in my circle of friends to share my joy with, I joined a Facebook group named "Remembering the Franklin Expedition". Among its members are some of the world's most renowned experts in the field, a lot of highly knowledgeable amateur polar historians, artists, writers and just interested people. Because of this group, the discussions we had and the information that is shared on a daily basis, my interest in the expedition grew and I started to get out my old books and buy new ones.
Right from the start Francis Crozier caught my attention and I started to look for books about him (there aren't many, perhaps the finding of Terror will change that now). After a while I noticed that one quotes of a letter written by him was saying exactly the opposite from the same quote in another book. So one of them had to be wrong. That is when I (without an academic background and being a German) started to canvas archives first in England and then worldwide for letters by Francis Crozier. I have spent the last almost two years with transcribing a lot of them (I'm pretty slow but diligent ;-) and hope in time some of them will find their way into this blog together with photos, images and articles that shed a light on this extraordinary officer and his times. Through his letters I have been acquainted to a warm-hearted, pious, remarkable and very likable person.
With this blog I invite you to follow me on a journey of exploration. I hope we will go into the ice and see the barren lands, but the main goal will be to find out more about Francis Crozier and his place in science and naval history.