HMS Terror – second ship of Franklin’s famous lost expedition discovered!

In 2014 the HMS Erebus was discovered. One of two ships of the ill-fated mission to discover the Northwest Passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, led by Sir John Franklin in 1845. Now, the second ship, HMS Terror, that sailed under the command of Captain Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier, has been discovered.

The hull (by Arctic Research Foundation)
The hull of HMS Terror (by Arctic Research Foundation)

The location of HMS Terror has been discovered on September 3rd by scientists of the Arctic Research Foundation. They have published a video that was aired public by CBC. The ship is resting on the depth of 24 metres in the waters of King William Island’s uncharted Terror Bay, 96 kilometres south of where the experts have believed the ship was crushed by ice. The ship is said to be in good condition, with three masts broken but standing, most of the hatches closed and everything stowed. Metal sheeting that reinforced the hull against sea ice is clearly visible amid swaying kelp. It is suggested that an anchor line may have been deployed before HMS Terror went down, as a long heavy rope line running through a hole in the ship’s deck has been spotted. The ship was equipped with a steam engine with an exhaust pipe rising above the deck – it is clearly visible even now. The significant find is the ship’s bell. It was found lying on the side on the deck close to where the sailor on watch would have have swung the clapper to mark time.

Exhaust pipe of the steam engine (by Arctic Research Foundation)
Exhaust pipe of the steam engine (by Arctic Research Foundation)
View inside the mess hall (by Arctic Research Foundation)
View inside the mess hall (by Arctic Research Foundation)

The discovery was accompanied by an eerie story by Sammy Kogvik, local Inuit hunter being one of the crewman of the expedition ship, the Martin Bergmann, a research vessel outfitted specifically to hunt for the missing ships. He is said to have been heading on snowmobiles to fish in a lake six years ago and spotted a large piece of wood, which looked like a mast, sticking out of the sea ice covering Terror Bay. He took a few snapshots of himself hugging the wooden object, but the camera had fallen out his pocket and the pictures  were lost, which he took for an omen of bad spirits. Adrian Schimnowski, the foundation’s operations director, took it as a real Inuit testimony and the crew agreed to make a detour for Terror Bay.

Ship's double wheel (by Arctic Research Foundation)
Ship’s double wheel (by Arctic Research Foundation)
View of the captain cabin's window (by Arctic Research Foundation)
View of the captain cabin’s window (by Arctic Research Foundation)

The explorers spent a week gathering images of the vessel and comparing them with the Terror’s 19th century builders’ plans to match and confirm the discovery. The wreck is sitting on the sea bed floor, indicating it sank gently to the bottom. It is said to be in such a good condition that lass panes are still in three of four tall windows in the stern cabin where the ship’s commander, Captain Francis Crozier, slept and worked. The discovery was made two years and a day after Canadian marine archaeologists found the wreck of HMS Erebus in the same area of eastern Queen Maud gulf.

Ropes of the wreckage (by Arctic Research Foundation)
Ropes of the wreckage (by Arctic Research Foundation)
The deck (by Arctic Research Foundation)
The deck (by Arctic Research Foundation)

The Arctic Research Foundation was set up by Jim Balsillie, a Canadian tech tycoon and philanthropist. He played a key role in planning the expedition. The 21st-century search for Franklin’s expedition was launched by Canadian former prime minister Stephen Harper as part of a broader plan to assert Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic and promote development of its resources. Parks Canada underwater archaeologists have led the mission since it began in 2008. Now they must confirm the wreck is truly the lost HMS Terror, either by examining the foundation’s images or visiting the site themselves.

HMS Erebus on sonar (by The Guardian)
HMS Erebus on sonar (by The Guardian)
Side scan of HMS Terror (by Arctic Research Foundation)
Side scan of HMS Terror (by Arctic Research Foundation)

The video presenting the discovery can be seen under this link on CBC’s site:

http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/763348035707/

(after PhysOrg, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail & Arctic Research Foundation)

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