On July 9, 1845, two months after departing from Greenhithe, England, Warrant Officer John Gregory wrote a letter to his wife from Greenland in which he described seeing whales and icebergs for the first time.

Gregory, who had never been to sea before, was aboard the H.M.S. Erebus, one of two ships to sail in Sir John Franklin’s 1845 expedition to find the fabled Northwest Passage, a sea route through the Canadian Arctic that would serve as a trade route to Asia.

Disaster struck. The Erebus and the H.M.S. Terror became stuck in ice in Victoria Strait, off King William Island in what is now the Canadian territory of Nunavut. In April 1848, the survivors — Franklin and nearly two dozen others had already died — set out on foot for a trading post on the Canadian mainland.

All 129 explorers ultimately perished, succumbing to brutal blizzard conditions and subzero temperatures. The doomed expedition endured in the public imagination — inspiring fiction by Mark Twain and Jules Verne, and, more recently, the 2018 AMC series “The Terror” — driven in part by rumors that the crew resorted to cannibalism. The wreckage lay quiet until 2014, when a remotely controlled underwater vehicle picked up the silhouette of the Erebus near King William Island. Two years later, a tip from a local Inuit hunter led to the discovery of the Terror in the ice-cold water of Terror Bay.

John Gregory’s descendants would not learn about his fate until more than 175 years after he sent the letter home from Greenland. Some sailors had been identified after being found in marked graves. But recently,

Continue reading – Article source

Posts from the same category:

    None Found