British Sledge Party, Arctic, 1850.
Engraving showing the Western division of sledges from the Austin expedition of 1850-1851. This image shows one of the sledge teams from the 'Resolute' hauling their sledges across the ice, with the assistance of sails and kites. In 1850 Captain Austin was sent, with HMS 'Resolute' and HMS 'Assistance', to the Arctic to search for signs of Sir John Franklin's ill-fated Arctic expedition of 1845. In 1845 the British Admiralty sent two polar exploration ships, HMS 'Erebus' and HMS 'Terror', to look for the Northwest passage round the northern coast of Canada. The expedition, commanded by Sir John Franklin, disappeared from view late in 1845 and none of the men were ever seen again. In fact the ships made it to the King William Island region, then got stuck in the ice. With supplies running out the surviving crew abandoned ship and headed south. However, none made it to safety and it is assumed all died from disease, exposure or starvation. From 1848 onwards a number of relief expeditions were sent to find Franklin, but it was only in 1859 that Francis Leopold McClintock was able to confirm Franklin's fate.
Image Copyright © Illustrated London News Ltd/Mary Evans
Media ID 4384101
from Prints Online
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Creation Date: 23rd February 2010
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