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Sgt. Daniel Bryant and HMS 'Erebus'

Capt. Sir John Franklin's doomed expedition to locate the Northwest Passage

Sgt. Daniel Bryant - Royal Marines

In May 1845, Daniel Bryant left his wife Mary Ann in their home at 47 Lower Park Street, Greenwich and made for Greenhithe. On arrival he boarded HMS ‘Erebus’. He was never to return home.

HMS ‘Erebus’ with HMS ‘Terror’ were bound on Capt. John Franklin's expedition to find the Northwest Passage.
En route they docked at Greenland from where letters were sent home, including those from Daniel to Mary.

During the winter of 1845–46 the expedition wintered on Beechey Island. Three crewmen died of tuberculosis and are buried there.

The winters of 1846-7 and 1847-8 saw the two vessels trapped in the ice at King William Island and so after nineteen months, on the 22nd April 1848, a decision was made to abandon the ships with the intention of travelling south to the Back River.

Not one of the 129 ships compliment survived.

Despite many search expeditions, funded by the Admiralty and Lady Jane Franklin, Capt. Franklin’s wife, the whereabouts of HMS ‘Erebus’ and HMS ‘Terror’ was never discovered.

In 2014, some 165 years later, the wreck of HMS ‘Erebus’ was discovered by explorers from Parks Canada's Underwater Archaeology Team.
Maybe, one day soon, we will learn more about the tragic loss of her crew including Sgt. Daniel Bryant – Royal Marines.

On 12 September 2016, the Arctic Research Foundation announced that the wreck of Terror had been found in Nunavut's Terror Bay, off the southwest coast of King William Island

Capt. Sir John Franklin’s Expedition to discover the Northwest Passage


  • 1845, 19 May: Franklin expedition sails from Greenhithe, England
  • 1845, July: Expedition docks in Greenland, sends home five men and a batch of letters
  • 1845, 28 July: Last sighting of expedition by Europeans (a whaling ship in Baffin Bay)
  • 1845–46: Expedition winters on Beechey Island. Three crewmen die of tuberculosis and are buried.
  • 1846: HMS Erebus and HMS Terror leave Beechey Island and sail down Peel Sound towards King William Island
  • 1846, 12 September: Ships trapped in the ice off King William Island
  • 1846–47: Expedition winters on King William Island
  • 1847, 28 May: Date of first note, says "All well"
  • 1847, 11 June: Capt. John Franklin dies
  • 1847–48: Expedition again winters off King William Island, after the ice fails to thaw in 1847
  • 1848, 22 April: Erebus and Terror abandoned after one year and seven months trapped in the ice
  • 1848, 25 April: Date of second note, saying 24 men have died and the survivors plan to start marching south on 26 April to the Back River
  • 1850 (?): Inuit board an abandoned ship, which is icebound off King William Island
  • 1850 (?): Inuit see 40 men walking south on King William Island
  • 1851 (?): Inuit hunters see four men still trying to head south, last verified sighting of survivors (as reported to Charles Hall)
  • 1852–58 (?): Inuit may have seen Crozier and one other survivor much further south in the Baker Lake area
  • 1854: John Rae interviews local Inuit, who give him items from the expedition and tell him the men starved to death, after resorting to cannibalism
  • 1859: McClintock finds the abandoned boat and the messages on an admiralty form in a cairn on King William Island
  • 2014: Ryan Harris, an underwater archeologist who was Parks Canada's project lead for the 2014 search, announced the finding in September of an underwater wreck that he said was "indisputably" one of Franklin's two ships. Further investigation has determined that it is HMS Erebus and the news was confirmed 1 October in the Canadian House of Commons.
  • On 12 September 2016, the Arctic Research Foundation announced that the wreck of Terror had been found in Nunavut's Terror Bay, off the southwest coast of King William Island. The wreck was discovered 92 km (57 mi) south of the location where the ship was reported abandoned, and some 50 km (31 mi) from the wreck of HMS Erebus, discovered in 2014
  • In September 2022, a journal salvaged from the wreck of HMS Erebus could lead to a wealth of revelations as to the fate of its doomed crew, historians hope.

    The archaeologists, working for Parks Canada, recovered 275 artefacts, in September 2022, including the journal, which was gently excavated with a spoon.

    The journal could be revelatory, but even if it proves more mundane, if it is legible then that would raise hopes of finding a logbook or other records that could fill in some of the mysteries surrounding the expedition.   

Owner of originalRay Ghent
Date8 Aug 2016
Linked toDaniel BRYANT

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