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Happy! - April 16

16 Apr 05 - 12:43 PM (#1463006)
Subject: Happy! - April 16
From: Abby Sale

(Es beginnt)

                      Happy Birthday!

               The lamented John Lord Franklin

                      (dJune 11, 1847)

        With 100 seamen he sailed away
        To the frozen ocean in the month of May
        To seek a passage around the pole
        Where we poor seamen do sometimes roll

                "Lady Franklin's Lament" DigTrad filename[ LADYFRAN

16 Apr 05 - 01:00 PM (#1463016)
Subject: RE: Happy! - April 16
From: Les from Hull

I don't think he was a Lord. He was Sir John Franklin. 'Lady' (as in Lady Franklin) is the title used by the wives of both Knights and Barons.

29 Dec 05 - 09:29 AM (#1636651)
Subject: RE: Happy! - April 16 (Sir John Franklin)
From: Garry Gillard

The song Martin Carthy sings on his Second Album is called Lord Franklin. Martin Carthy's note refers to the man as Sir John.

29 Dec 05 - 05:36 PM (#1636918)
Subject: RE: Happy! - April 16 (Sir John Franklin)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Sir John Franklin (not Lord) had 129 crewmen on the ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. All were lost. No written accounts were ever found, except the one note on Franklin's death, found in a cairn by M'Clintock, along with many artifacts.

The mummified body of stoker John Torrington, identified by a plaque on the coffin, was found on Beechey Island. He had died Jan. 1, 1846. Bone, hair and tissue samples were sent to the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, and other Edmonton laboratories.
Lead levels of 413 to 657 ppm were found in the hair samples. High levels were also obtained from samples taken from John Hartnell and William Braine, two more preserved bodies.

Examination of tinned food among the artifacts showed that the cans had lead solder (90% lead, 10% tin). It was estimated that each sailor would have been allotted half a pound of tinned food every second day. It is evident that lead contributed to the declining health of Franklin's men, and probably Franklin himself. Tuberculosis and pneumonia also played a part in some deaths. The fact that the officers died earlier than the men may be explained by their use of pewter tableware with high percentages of lead, in addition to lead from the tins. The men who died in the death march of the spring and summer of 1848 probably suffered from anorexia, weakness, fatigue and paranoia as a result of the lead.

Further note: Sir John Franklin was Captain of HMS Erebus; Francis R. M. Crozier was captain of HMS Terror. Four boys, two on each ship, are among the dead.

Owen Beattie and John Geiger, 1987, "Frozen in Time," Western Producer Prairie Books, and later more technical publications.

29 Dec 05 - 06:04 PM (#1636934)
Subject: RE: Happy! - April 16 (Sir John Franklin)
From: Susanne (skw)

He was definitely Sir John Franklin, never made a lord. There are two interesting books, one a novel based on Franklin's life and career by German novelist Sten Nadolny, 'Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit' (The Discovery of Slowness - I think it has been translated but I don't know the correct English title). The other one is 'Frozen in Time: the fate of the Franklin expedition' by Owen Beattie and John Geiger who examined the graves of three members of the expedition, with interesting results. Neither book is recent, but both are wotht reading.

29 Dec 05 - 06:40 PM (#1636956)
Subject: RE: Happy! - April 16 (Sir John Franklin)
From: Susanne (skw)

Wotht? Worth, of course. In my haste I not only misspelled but also missed Q's post. Sorry!

29 Dec 05 - 07:10 PM (#1636968)
Subject: RE: Happy! - April 16 (Sir John Franklin)
From: bfdk

Frozen in Time is an excellent read! If you don't know the conclusion when reading the book, it's like reading a good CSI story ;-)

Q, if any of the "more technical publications" are available online, I should be very happy, if you'd kindly provide a link.

For anybody interested in the life and times of Sir John Franklin, I can also recommend the novel "North-West by South" written by Australian author Nancy Cato. This book deals mainly with his time as Governor of Tasmania, but also follows him and his wife up to the doomed expedition. Based on the facts, as far as these were available at the time of writing (1965).

Best wishes,


29 Dec 05 - 07:46 PM (#1636979)
Subject: RE: Happy! - April 16 (Sir John Franklin)
From: robomatic

I recall a somewhat apocryphal tale of natives giving some of the men whale or other thick piece of meat sandwiched with animal fat, whereupon the white men burned the fat to cook the meat, thereby ridding themeselves of the valuable fat calories and cooking out what vitamin C may have been available in the fresh meat.

Also refer to Stan Roger's song "Northwest Passage"

29 Dec 05 - 07:46 PM (#1636981)
Subject: RE: Happy! - April 16 (Sir John Franklin)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

In one body was found Clostridium. The record shows that the tinned food also was improperly prepared, so food poisoning inc. botulism also could have been a contributing factor along with the lead.
This little paper by Amanda Hall is a balanced account of recent findings, although just a student paper:

More technical reports have appeared in scientific journals, but I no longer have direct access to them. "Frozen in Time" has been published in German as well as English.

29 Dec 05 - 08:44 PM (#1637011)
Subject: RE: Happy! - April 16 (Sir John Franklin)
From: robomatic

An interesting true attempt at Northern exploration occurred in the 1897 when a Swedish trio attempted to reach the North Pole via balloon. The idea was to adjust their altitude to the best winds blowing them North. Unfortunately this was by no means reliable enough and they did not reach their goal, and spent months crossing floes and open leads in an attempt to return to civilization; shooting polar bears for food (and survival). They did not make it back. In 1930 their remains were found on a small bleak islet and many photo negatives were found which could be developed. A book came out in by Olof Sundman in 1970 "Flight of the Eagle" which takes the point of view of one of the trio as a work of art while keeping to the correct dates and known events.

29 Dec 05 - 11:07 PM (#1637134)
Subject: RE: Happy! - April 16 (Sir John Franklin)
From: Ron Davies

What I found most amazing about the Franklin expedition was that it appears to have been a consolation prize to Sir John Franklin for being ousted as governor of Van Diemen's Land. The obvious candidate for leadership of the proposed Northwest Passage expedition, James Clark Ross, had turned it down, promising his new wife and her parents that he would not go to sea again.

Lady Franklin and some of Franklin's friends campaigned hard for him--hoping it would restore his crushed ego and reputation. So, despite the fact that he was in poor condition, with no recent Arctic experience--and age 59--he was picked.

Anybody have any contrary information?

30 Dec 05 - 05:21 PM (#1637644)
Subject: RE: Happy! - April 16 (Sir John Franklin)
From: Susanne (skw)

Ron, that's more or less along the lines of what I've read. But didn't Ross GO to sea again - to help with the search for Franklin?

30 Dec 05 - 05:50 PM (#1637671)
Subject: RE: Happy! - April 16 (Sir John Franklin)
From: bfdk

You're right, Susanne, Ross *did* go to sea again to help in the search for the missing Franklin expedition. Quoting from "Frozen in Time" page 21: ".. while ageing explorer Sir John Ross led an expedition which had been funded by the Hudson's Bay Company and by public subscription."

This Sir John Ross was, however, not identical with the Sir James Clark Ross mentioned by Ron. They were uncle and nephew.