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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > July 2017 > Great Adventures: The Northern Passage

Great Adventures: The Northern Passage

During a desperate attempt to discover the Northwest Passage, an entire Royal Navy crew of 129 officers and men mysteriously disappeared. Amid claims of poisoning and cannibalism, Pat Kinsella separates fact from fiction

MYSTERY, MADNESS & CANNIBALISM

WATERY GRAVE The wreck of Franklin's flagship, HMS Erebus, was discovered in 2014, but it did little to reveal the fate of its crew
NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM, LONDON X1, ALAMY X1, AKG X1 CREDIT INFORMATION HERE

“Ultimately, more people died during the search for Franklin and his crew than were lost in their initial disappearance”

The steep cliffs of Baffin Island, Canada, where Franklin’s expedition was last seen
GETTY X6, TOPFOTO X1, NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM, LONDON X3

One of the world’s most intriguing naval mysteries revolves around the fate of two ships – HMS Erebus and HMS Terror – that disappeared in 1845, with the loss of all 129 crew, while on an expedition to find the fabled Northern Passage.

The remains of a storehouse built by one of the search parties on Beechey Island

It was the biggest loss of life in the already-horror-sodden quest for the trade route, and the enigma has echoed through time, with the ghostly reemergence of the vessels in recent years, and voices from the dead forcing historians to revise their version of events not once, but twice.

A note supposedly written by captains Crozier and Fitzjames revealed that the ships had become ice-bound and the crew forced to abandon them
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About History Revealed

Follow the rise and fall of France's most infamous dictator, Napoleon, all the way from emperor to exile. Also inside, celebrate 200 years of Jane Austen and discover what life was really like for Ancient Greeks living in Sparta, the civilisation's most brutal city-state. We've also lined up ten of the greatest partnerships in history, from Marks and Spencer to Rolls and Royce, plus meet the man who inspired 007 – Elizabeth I's forgotten spy, John Dee.
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