HMS 'Assistance' in the ice
In 1845, Sir John Franklin and his two ships, 'Erebus' and 'Terror', disappeared in the Canadian Arctic during their search for the North-West Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Many searches for them were mounted until the total loss of the ships and party was confirmed in 1859. This picture relates to Captain Horatio Austin's search expedition of 1850-1851, in which Captain Erasmus Ommanney commanded HMS 'Assistance'. Ommanney called at Cape York in Greenland where he picked up a young Inuit guide called Kallihirua (though the modern Inuit spelling is Qalasirssuaq) (see BHC2813) who led the ship north to check on a rumoured massacre of Franklin's men. This proved false and 'Assistance' wintered in the ice before returning to England in autumn 1851.
Thomas Sewell Robins
- Image reference: BHC4239
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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