The Franklin Expedition: A Victorian Era Moon Landing

“In May 1845, two Royal Navy ships, HMS Terror and Erebus, embarked from London on a voyage with ambitious aims. The mission would forge a passage through the partially mapped channels of northern Canada and pioneer the Northwest Passage. This route from Greenland to Alaska via the icy channels on the Arctic Circle would open new trading routes and allow vessels to forgo the dangerous and lengthy passage around Cape Horn. The attempt would use new technology pioneered in Britain – coal-fired engines powering propeller screws for locomotion, and tinned food.

“The Admiralty decided on a large party in two ships under the command of Arctic veteran Sir John Franklin. Hostile conditions, the use of new technology, and – critically – operating beyond immediate assistance of the few trading forts and whaling stations to the south, meant the expedition was the equivalent of a Victorian-era moon landing. If men, supplies, technology, knowhow or leadership failed, then deaths could be expected. However, experience suggested that if the attempt met insurmountable obstacles there was a fair chance of retreating with only minor casualties, if leadership was decisive enough…”

Read the full review on SPIKED, 30 January 2015 here:

http://www.spiked-online.com/review_of_books/article/the-franklin-expedition-a-victorian-era-moon-landing/16565#.Vd-MbvldU5k

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