In 1845, a British voyage of Arctic exploration led by Captain Sir John Franklin departed England aboard two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. The expedition was assigned to traverse the last unnavigated sections of the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic and to record magnetic data to help determine whether a better understanding could aid navigation.
The expedition met with disaster after both ships and their crews, a total of 129 officers and men, became icebound in Victoria Strait near King William Island in what is today the Canadian territory of Nunavut. After being icebound for more than a year Erebus and Terror were abandoned in April 1848, by which point Franklin and nearly two dozen others had died. The survivors, now led by Franklin's second-in-command, Francis Crozier, and Erebus's captain, James Fitzjames, set out for the Canadian mainland and disappeared.
In his latest book, ‘Erebus: The Story of a Ship’, globetrotter, author and comedian Sir Michael Palin explores the journey of the ill-fated former Hecla-class bomb vessel,and sat down with Dan Snow to discuss it’s history in more depth.