The voyage of the ‘Fox’ in the Arctic Seas...

Click on the numbers above to view a selection of pages from the book.

Francis Leopold McClintock. The voyage of the ‘Fox’ in the Arctic Seas, a narrative of the discovery of the fate of Sir John Franklin and his companions. London, 1860.

This was Lady Franklin’s final searching expedition, sent to explore the King William Island area, identified by Dr. John Rae in 1854 as the scene of the Franklin disaster. Unable to penetrate Bellot Strait because of ice, McClintock used sledge parties to explore the surrounding islands, and circled King William Island. As well as finding proof of Franklin’s fate, McClintock discovered a navigable route around King William Island, which was used by Amundsen fifty years later, in his first voyage through the North West Passage.

The note found by McClintock on King William Island (see the fourth page displayed above) has two messages. One dated May 28, 1847, says that the Franklin Expedition spent its first winter at Beechey Island and the second at the northwest coast of King William Island, and ends “All well.” Around the margin is a second, dated 28 April 1848 noting the deaths of John Franklin and 24 others. The remaining 105 men were leaving the ship on foot, making for the Great Fish River.