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Thread: A failed Arctic expedition

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    UK Avalon Member Brigantia's Avatar
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    29th May 2019
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    Default A failed Arctic expedition

    One of my favourite YT channels is Curious World, that posts intermittently but the content is always interesting.

    For Christmas Eve, CW has posted a video about a balloon expedition to the Arctic that set off in 1897, the project of Swedish engineer Salomon August Andrée who departed with two others. They never returned and their fate was not known until 1930; this is a historical event that I'd never heard of before.

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    Avalon Member SpookyMulder's Avatar
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    Default Re: A failed Arctic expedition

    Perhaps on a bigger scale, this reminded me of a series called "The Terror" based on the disastrous 1845 British naval expedition to discover the Northwest Passage.

    Europeans had been looking for a gateway between the Western Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Ocean from as early as 1400 and the British Admiralty even offered up a reward of £20,000 to anyone who discovered the passage.

    In 1845, the expedition was designed to confirm the existence of the Northwest Passage and map the Arctic coastline.

    Sir John Franklin was chosen to lead the expedition after first choice Sir James Ross turned the trip down.
    The last contact with the outside world came on July 26, 1845, when two whaling ships saw Franklin’s expedition in northern Baffin Bay and all appeared to be well and on track.

    No news was initially not considered a problem – especially with all the ships' reserves - however, after there was no contact in 1846 concerns began to form back home.
    However, it wasn’t until November 1847 that John Ross was able to get approval for the first rescue mission and they set off in 1848 – three winters on from Franklin’s crew’s departure. Franklin’s disappearance was a big news story at the time and the Admiralty offered sizeable rewards for anyone who could rescue him, the ships or discover the Northwest Passage.
    Franklin’s wife Lady Jane financed huge search efforts beyond 1850, when 15 ships headed to the Arctic on search missions.

    The first signs of the expedition's failure were discovered on Beechey Island in 1850, where three graves and headstones were found next to marks on the ground from fire, sledges and 600 large empty food cans.

    Although the Admiralty had no desire to continue the costly search for Franklin’s men, the expedition took on legendary status with the mystery surrounding the disappearance of an English hero sparking numerous theories about what had happened.

    It was 1853 when the fate of Franklin’s men was finally confirmed by a group of Inuit, who said that around 40 men had told them, using sign language, that the boats had been crushed. They claimed that later on the remains of the same men were discovered.

    Reports of the remains suggest that there was an almost apocalyptic scene with the men forced to resort to cannibalism as their only means to survive. These clams were ignored and refuted by Lady Franklin, however, when the corpse of John Torrington was exhumed on Beechey Island 135 years later in 1981, modern forensic techniques indicated that there were signs consistent with cannibalism on the bones.

    The serie itself has a supernatural twist to it and is definitely a recommended watch.
    I have seen life on this planet, and that is exactly why I am looking elsewhere.

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