The Franklin Expedition

The Last Voyage: The Fate of Franklin, a documentary that follows the voyage of the doomed expedition from more than 160 years ago....
Listen to the full episode54:59
The Last Voyage: The Fate of Franklin, a documentary that follows the voyage of the doomed expedition from more than 160 years ago.The story of the doomed Franklin expedition is one that has fascinated Canadians for more than 160 years. In 1845, English explorer John Franklin and his crew embarked on a search for the Northwest Passage. They disappeared, and were never heard from again. For years following the Franklin disappearance, countless search parties set out to find the ships and their crew. It was eventually determined that the two ships- HMS Terror and HMS Erebus were abandoned, that Franklin died in 1847 and that the surviving crew attempted to reach the Back River on foot. Analysis of remains found in the 1980s and 90s suggested cannibalism among the crew.

But the whereabouts of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror have eluded researchers to this day. This summer Parks Canada sent out an underwater archaeology team to conduct further research in the Arctic, and the federal government announced it would finance the largest search in history for Sir John Franklin's two ships. And just a few days ago, there was news that archaeologists have discovered some fragments of human remains, and a tooth brush. 

A re-broadcast of a documentary that first aired in 1974 on the program Between Ourselves. It's called The Last Voyage: The Fate of Franklin, and it documents the voyage of the doomed expedition.

In late August Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on a visit to the Arctic, announced that the largest search yet was being launched for the ships. The last time a search on this scale was attempted was in 1967, for Canada's Centennial. That search came up empty handed. Earlier this week, archaeologists announced that they had discovered some human remains and artifacts, but so far no sign of the ships.

For more about the Franklin expedition, and the search for the remains, have a look at the CBC website here:


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