Review of The last of the Arctic voyages. Being a narrative of the expedition in H.M.S. Assistance. Vol. 1-2, by Edward Belcher
Of all the polar heroes of the 19th century, Sir John Franklin might be regarded as the most tragic one. He was appointed the commander of a well-organized Arctic expedition in 1845, equipped with all that should be needed for surviving in the frozen wilderness, included two ships loaded with a thousand books and three years’ worth of food supplies. His order was to sail through and to map the North-west Passage. But he never returned with his men. Their fate will forever be a mystery. Though there were reports on some of his men from indigenous people in the years after, the greatest mystery is what caused the deaths of Franklin and his men. One hundred and forty years later, in 1997, one of many discovery expeditions concluded that blade-cut marks on the bones of some of the crew found on King William Island proved the rumours to be true, that the Franklin expedition ended in cannibalism.
(Published: 20 December 2013)
Citation: Polar Research 2013, 32, 23457, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v32i0.23457
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