Expedition into the unknown is always a difficult journey, especially back then when remote communication was not yet a thing.
In the mid-1800s, the best way to embark on such an expedition was by the sea – the ships might be states of the art, and knowledgeable captains led the experienced crews, but the challenges were often beyond their limits. When disasters struck, they were on their own.
No matter how well the ships were prepared, with many provisions and an assembly of able-bodied crews under the command of educated officers, there was no way to tell if the voyage ahead would go exactly as planned.
HMS Terror set sail from the Thames on May 19, 1845, to find the North-West Passage, a route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, through the Arctic Ocean.
Everything seemed to go well for the first two months, and then no sighting report came after July.
It would take about two years until the Admiralty in London expressed concern about the disappearance. What happened to the crew was eventually revealed a century later.
10 /10 Franklin Expedition
The HMS Terror, commanded by Captain Francis Crozier – a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society – did not go alone in the expedition.
The HMS Erebus, under the command of Captain John Franklin, led the way, hence Franklin Expedition. Before the voyage, both ships underwent significant upgrades to prepare for the journey.
They were equipped with a central heating system and steel-reinforced bows to cut through the ice.
Each power department received a steam engine to ensure progress even during the slow wind. Both ships would stay operational despite a low external temperature of -40°C or lower.
9 /10 No Immediate Search
The mid-1800s or about 50 years before radio technology was first used on ships. When words about any sighting of Erebus and Terror were no longer heard from anyone, there was no device to establish communication with the captains. Whalers last sighted both in July 1845 north of Baffin Island.
A quick search didn’t happen. The Admiralty in London expressed concern about the news (or lack thereof) only at the end of 1847.
Between then and 1880, however, there were 26 search expeditions by sea and overland; Franklin’s widow founded some.