Video: The Wreck of the Franklin Expedition's HMS Terror

Plates in the crew's mess area, HMS Terror (Parks Canada)

Published Aug 30, 2019 9:11 PM by The Maritime Executive

Parks Canada has released new video from the interior of HMS Terror, one of two vessels from the Franklin Expedition of 1845, which sought to find the Northwest Passage but ended in tragedy.

The vessels - Terror and HMS Erebus - were caught in the ice off Canada's King William Island in the winter of 1846-47 and abandoned in 1848. The remaining men of Franklin's team attempted to journey overland to British outposts in Canada, but they did not survive. 

The vessels were rediscovered in 2014 and 2016, thanks in part to Inuit traditional knowledge of their location. The government of the United Kingdom gifted the wrecks to Canada in 2018, and they are monitored and administered jointly by the Inuit and Parks Canada. 

Early this month, Parks Canada archaeologists used an unusually good seven-day weather window to explore the interior of the wrecks with a remotely operated vehicle for the first time. The team conducted seven ROV dives and explored 20 compartments within the ship. They obtained clear images of more than 90 per cent of the lower deck, including the living quarters of the crew.

The team reported that HMS Terror has been well-preserved by cold, deep water and layers of protective sediment. This may be helpful, as sedimentation provides a low-oxygen environment which can preserve organic materials like paper. It is the team's hope that artifacts from the vessel - potentially including logs and records - could help to lift the mystery surrounding the expedition's disappearance.