Sir John Franklin

Sir John Franklin statue London

Sir John Franklin was born on April 16, 1786, in Spilsby, Lincolnshire. At a very young age Franklin wanted to be at sea, but his father didn’t want that for his son. Because of Franklin’s determination his father let him try a voyage on a merchant ship to see if he would like it at sea. At age 14, he joined the Royal Navy on board the HMS Polyphemus.


Franklin’s first expedition was the Coppermine Expedition of 1819. The goal of the expedition was to discover and map out the Northwest Passage, which is the nautical route through the Arctic Ocean. (popular northwest passage routes) From the very start the expedition was doomed because of poor planning and unreliable allies. After reaching the Arctic Coast they retreated back home because they ran out of supplies and the harsh winter came in. Only eleven out of twenty survived, in which murder and cannibalism is to blame.


Franken’s second Arctic expedition was in 1823, shortly after his marriage to Eleanor Anne Porden. She gave birth to their daughter Eleanor Isabella in 1824. Franklin’s wife Eleanor died in 1825, of tuberculosis. His second expedition was better planned this time around as they explored the shores of the Beaufort Sea.

Eleanor Anne Porden

Franklin was knighted and married to Jane Griffin in the year of 1828.

Jane Griffin

Franklin took what would be his last expedition to complete the charting of the Northwest Passage on May 19, 1845. There were two ships on this journey the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror with a total of 24 officers and 110 men. After not hearing from the crew for three years (they carried tree year’s worth of supplies) a reward and the beginning of many searches began. Many studies and records found from the expedition show the two ships became ice bound and all the men died. There are many different reasons for the deaths, including; pneumonia, tuberculosis, lead poisoning, scurvy, starvation, and cannibalism. To this day there are still many secrets to be unlocked on Franklin’s last journey.