Gateway Gazette

PM announces HMS Erebus as the discovered Franklin Expedition ship

Ottawa, Ontario, 1 October 2014 – Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that the Franklin Expedition ship discovered in early September by the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition is Her Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Erebus. Sir John Franklin, who was in command of the Franklin Expedition, sailed on HMS Erebus.

The confirmation was made by Parks Canada underwater archeologists, following a meticulous review of data and artifacts observed from the Arctic Ocean’s seabed and using high-resolution photography, high-definition video and multi-beam sonar measurements.

This announcement comes just three weeks after remains of the ship were found in the eastern stretches of the Queen Maud Gulf off the western coast of the Adelaide Peninsula.

On May 19, 1845, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror of the Royal Navy departed Greenhithe, England, on a much-heralded Arctic expedition in search of a Northwest Passage. Under the command of Sir John Franklin, with Captain Francis Rawdon Crozier second in command, the expedition’s two ships set out with a total complement of 129 officers and men. The two expedition ships were last seen entering Baffin Bay in August 1845.

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada’s partners for the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition included Parks Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Royal Canadian Navy, Defence Research and Development Canada, Environment Canada, and the Canadian Space Agency, as well as the Governments of Nunavut and Great Britain.
  • Private and non-profit partners included the Arctic Research Foundation, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society who additionally brought in The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, Shell Canada and One Ocean Expeditions as partners.
  • Since 2008, there have been six major Parks Canada-led searches for the lost Franklin Expedition ships, painstakingly covering many hundreds of square kilometres of the Arctic seabed.
  • The initial discovery of a ship belonging to the Franklin Expedition, made by side-scan sonar towed from the Parks Canada research vessel Investigator, was confirmed on September 7, 2014, using Parks Canada’s remotely operated vehicle.
  • On September 30, 2014, it was confirmed that the ship is HMS Erebus.
  • HMS Erebus was a Hecla-class bomb vessel constructed in 1826.
  • The vessel was named after the dark region in Hades of Greek mythology called Erebus.
  • HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were outfitted with steam engines (converted from railway locomotive engines), and had iron plating added to their hulls.

Quotes

“I am pleased to announce today that the Franklin Expedition ship located by the Victoria Strait Expedition in September has been identified as HMS Erebus. The locating and identifying of this ship goes a long way to solving one of Canada’s greatest historical mysteries.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

“I would like to congratulate and pay tribute to all those involved in locating and identifying HMS Erebus. I had the privilege of witnessing the remarkable dedication and skills of the search team first-hand during this year’s Northern Tour and it has left a lasting impression. I wish them well in their search for HMS Terror.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

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