Talk:Franklin's lost expedition

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Good article Franklin's lost expedition has been listed as one of the Geography and places good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
March 20, 2008 Good article nominee Listed

Ships on the Ice[edit]

I moved the text of the new section on "Ships in the Ice" into the existing one on early searches, and trimmed what I thought were extraneous details. I also cited the book's original publication information, rather than that of the reprint, adding the book to the list of works cited and linking the Google book version to the footnote. This is a significant detail and Gould was in fact a well-versed expert in Franklin matters, despite the fact that his book jumbles this account along with stories of phantom ships and Nostradamus. Clevelander96 (talk) 12:57, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

A-ok, fine with me. I also thought, while "toying" with the supernatural, Gould was always careful to seperate fact from fiction and to give a fairly balanced few. I was a bit doubtful of putting the observation under the section of "Early searches" (not exactly a "search", is it?), but YMMV. Thanks for cleaning up the material and ref. --Syzygy (talk) 13:15, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks both of you, for the content and the cleanup, I'd never heard of this BTW. Gwen Gale (talk) 13:16, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for all the comments. It's true, this event isn't really part of a conscious "search," but since the story was reported by people who were aware of the search, and who were, as it were on the alert for such things because of the search, it seems to me to fit here -- we might tweak the segue a bit -- unless there's a consensus that this story deserves lengthier treatment. BTW it is still an account which is discussed today; I hosted an article about it on my blog last year here: [1] Clevelander96 (talk) 19:47, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Now that Erebus and Terror have been found, does it still make sense to keep the mention of the ships in the ice in the article? Or should we remove this lest cruft overcomes the article? -- Syzygy (talk) 14:30, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

Article name[edit]

"The Franklin Expedition" would seem to be the appropriate name for this article. It gets 206,000 results on Google compared with 153,000 for "Franklin's lost expedition". The page from the Illustrated London News includes the line "We this week engrave the Relics of the Franklin Expedition...". Petecarney (talk) 21:50, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

Hi Peter. While the hits may seem to point to "The Franklin Expedition", the problem there is that Franklin led three Arctic expeditions, and this article is only about his last one ... Clevelander96 (talk)
Hi Clevelander. I take your point, but I'd mention the Wikipedia:Article titles policy which would seem to suggest that the most commonly used name is generally first choice for an article's title as, for one reason, it is the most likely to be typed in the search box. The only question would seem to be whether in this case "additional precision is necessary to distinguish an article title from other uses of the topic name". Certainly additional precision is sometimes desirable but I wouldn't say necessary, in this case, as I'd be most surprised if someone looking for an article on one of Franklin's two non-lost expeditions would mistakenly type in or otherwise select the most often used title for the expedition of 1845. Petecarney (talk) 20:02, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
Hi again Peter. I do take your point -- we had a discussion about this when the article was created. We had Cyriax's book -- Sir John Franklin's Last Expedition -- but thought that "Lost" was more descriptive than "last." I don't think we need concede to search-engine stats in order to consider this a "commonly used name" -- this article is the #1 hit no matter whether you type in Last, Lost, or just "Franklin Expedition." Clevelander96 (talk) 21:02, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

English variations[edit]

I'm not clear which version of English this is written in: there are examples of both British English and North American English (I'm not an expert on Canadian English):

British English:[edit]

  • travelled/travellers
  • archaeologist
  • honoured
  • organised
  • kilometres — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:50, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

N American English[edit]

  • traveled
  • honor
  • archeologist/archeology
  • leveled
  • defense

It should be in one or the other, not a mixture. Listening to Erebus (link here: [2]), a BBC Radio 4 afternoon play about the Franklin Expedition, as I type ... (talk) 14:45, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

If there are problems, fix it. This page is not semi-protected, so IP editors can edit it. Epicgenius (talk) 16:15, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

August 1845?[edit]

I am not sure if the statement "The expedition was last seen by Europeans in early August 1845" is correct. According contemporary sources, it happened on July 26 - see the following news available at

Sir John Franklin's Expedition. Prince of Wales, Davis' Straits.´Melville Bay, 26th July, 1845.-At three p.m., received on board ten of the chief officers of the expedition under the command of Captain Sir John Franklin, of the Terror and Erebus ; both ships' crews were all well, and in remarkably good spirits, expecting to finish the expedition in good time. They were made fast to a large iceberg, with a temporary observatory fixed upon it. They were in latitude 74° 48' N. long. 65° 13' W. Bell's Messenger; Nov. 3.

Is there any new information to claim the Franklin's ships were seen at August 1845?

Radouch (talk) 17:48, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Contemporary sources can be deceptive. Cyriax, the recognized authority, notes the testimony you mention on pp. 66-68 of his book; Dannet's sighting was not the last -- that was by Captain Martin -- according to his original affidavit, not yet published at the time of these first reports, Martin actually spoke with Franklin and with James Reid, the Ice-Master of HMS Erebus, and was visited by some officers of the ships; he does not give the dates but Cyriax infers them from his statement to have been the 29th or 31st of July (p. 68). As it happens, though, this also means we must change August to July. Clevelander96 (talk) 18:18, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Would be grateful though if you could change the source -- I'm not expert at the WP citation format, and have in the past caused troubles with formatting and notes when attempting to do so. Cyriax (1939) is already cited, so hopefully it will be a s imple matter. Beattie, who is an anthropologist, not an historian, is a poor source for such a claim anyway. Clevelander96 (talk) 18:22, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for your explanation. I have not read the Cyriax's book, unfortunatelly - I hope I will manage to obtain some copy.
I did my best to fix the reference; please check it. Radouch (talk) 09:37, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Looks fine to me. I wonder if the Cyriax citation also supports the claims in the preceding sentence, "Before the expedition's final departure, five men were discharged and sent home on Rattler and Barretto Junior, reducing the ships' final crew size to 129." If so, we could add a similar ref to the Cyriax pages to head off future doubts about "five" and "129". Thanks to both of you for your careful attention to detail. Finetooth (talk) 17:43, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

White passage and Lament the Night[edit]

A user employing the IP address has added material to the list of Franklin fictions and listed these two novels -- White passage and Lament the Night -- as Works Cited. However, these novels are self-published Smashwords e-books with no known online reviews or any other indication of their reception; one was just 'published' a few days ago. I previously deleted these references but they have been re-added from the same IP address; I suspect this is probably a WP:COI issue but would like to hear from other editors before I take any other action such as rolling back these edits. Thoughts appreciated! Clevelander96 (talk) 02:09, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

I had this same thought as I read the article again recently after a long absence. I've removed the Lament the Night listing on grounds of apparent conflict of interest, and I think the White Passage citation should be removed on the same grounds. It supports no claim in the main text except the existence of the self-published fiction. In addition, the paragraphs about fiction that appear above the White Passage citation lack a source or sources. It would be tedious to find a reliable source for each one; is this lovely list found in one RS that we might cite? Finetooth (talk) 17:34, 12 October 2015 (UTC)

Do we need a discussion about cultural attitudes at the end of "Other Factors" section?[edit]

I think it could be expanded upon, but not using that rather facecious source being focused on. It appears to be making too much of a contemporary political point, rather than intelligently and historically discussing the issue. I think it would be useful to expand it. Ken McGoogan's Fatal Passage has much material and discussion on this aspect, dealing as it does with John Rae (explorer) and his radically different methods of travel and ready usage of Inuit techniques. I think it would be a much more suitable area for interesting seconadary sources on the matter. Cheers! Irondome (talk) 22:58, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

"First man to cross the NW Passage"?[edit]

Under "Rescue Expeditions", we find the following:

  • McClure frozen in at Banks Island, when rescued becomes first man to cross the northwest passage.

I attempted to change this to "first European", on grounds that we presumably don't know whether any Inuit had done it. My edit was reverted by Clevelander96, saying that the NW Passage is a European conception, not an Inuit one. I find the current formulation offensively Eurocentric. And to my mind the NW Passage is on the face of it a geographical term. The argument that the NW Passage is a European conception and that therefore any non-European who might have traversed the corresponding geographical route doesn't count as having crossed the NW Passage strikes me as contorted in the extreme.

"First European" seems to me to be neutral, factual and noncontroversial. Other formulations such as "first person known" or "first person recorded" would be fine too. By contrast, I see little justification for leaving in place a wording that is not only potentially offensive but also potentially inaccurate. But it's pointless to get into an edit war over it, so I am posting the matter here for further discussion. Gould363 (talk) 03:32, 21 May 2014 (UTC)

My point was that the Inuit, before contact with Europeans, had never heard of and had no concept of a Northwest Passage. It didn't mean anything to them, had no place in their conceptual universe, and so none of them would have followed such a goal. The Inuit also settled into bands with relatively fixed and limited areas of hunting; each band was named after its home area. Thus, for instance, the Inuit who hunted around Netsilik Lake became known as the Netsilingmiut or Netsilik Inuit. It would have been highly unusual for a member of one band to wander off and join another, let alone to cross the territory of multiple bands -- thus very unlikely that any Inuit would have passed over the exact and entire track thought of as the Northwest Passage. That's not to say at all that the Inuit couldn't or didn't make extraordinary journeys -- Qilaq led his band across Baffin Bay to Etah in Northwest Greenland, using only his skill as a shaman! -- but there's no reason to suppose that, in the pre-contact period, such a specific journey, whose nature was defined by people the Inuit had never met, would have been undertaken. And, after the contact period, the earliest documented person, Inuit or European, to cross this route from sea to sea was McClure, so I don't see why we need to qualify that statement. Unless there is some documentation of Inuit or other non-Europeans having taken this route previously, I think the statement can stand as is. It's no dishonor to Inuit people, who were far more able travelers than the qalunaat who blundered through their lands in the 19th century, to say that weren't aware of, and didn't therefore try to pursue, a quest that the Europeans brought with them in their heads. Clevelander96 (talk) 03:51, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Isn't that a murky topic to begin with? Let's say "first man to knowingly cross" the NW Passage. Epicgenius (talk) 16:32, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

Additional information regarding extent of cannibalism[edit]

I added information regarding the extent of the cannibalism that occurred, specifically the extraction of marrow from bones, which is an example of end stage cannibalism. The reference I added points to an article at, though others might want to either add to or replace that reference with one to the actual paper that has been accepted for publication, "Evidence for End-Stage Cannibalism on Sir John Franklin's Last Expedition to the Arctic, 1845" after it is actually published and has the pertinent citation information to reference. grifterlake (talk) 06:40, 23 July 2015 (UTC)grifterlake (talk) 06:39, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

Use of bogus '&' as query-string delimiter. (Update: This may not be the case.)[edit]

I recently made an edit changing an embedded '&' to '%26' in the "Map of searches in 1850–51" image link; that may not have actually been necessary. I initially thought the change was needed, because sometime in the past I thought that '&' was improperly used as a query-string initial delimiter in many image-related links (in other articles), but now I am hard pressed to find an example. (I believe that such improper usage is typically tolerated by browsers.)

If I am indeed wrong about that improper usage, feel free to revert the edit (the link seems to work either way).

BMJ-pdx (talk) 17:47, 26 April 2017 (UTC)


The words "Canada" or "Canadian" occur 10 times in the article in references to places that, at the relevant time, were more than 1,500 miles from Canada. The boundaries of Canada were not extended to the Arctic coast until 1870 and did not include the islands relevant to the expedition until 1880.

If there were just one or two instances, I would edit them to use words like "what is now Canada", but when it occurs 10 times, I wonder if there is a better way to do it. -- (talk) 00:49, 13 May 2017 (UTC)