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Franklin ship found - 9 September 2014

And here is the news which the world has waited for since 1848 - the finding of one of Franklin's ships. 

Today’s announcement by Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, that Parks Canada have located one of the ships of Sir John Franklin’s lost Expedition on the bed of Victory Strait, is the biggest archaeological discovery the world has seen since the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb almost 100 years ago.

The whole world owes a debt of thanks to the Canadian Government and Parks Canada for leading this search, and to the Inuit people of Nunavut who tried to help Franklin’s men and who faithfully kept alive their memories of the tragedy. From the images it is clear that a huge amount of evidence will be preserved from the Expedition, possibly even including the remains of the men and maybe, just possibly, some of their photographs. Preserving the wreck and recovering the evidence will be a painstaking and difficult task which will take many years. But today we should remember the loss of those men and rejoice that throughout the 170 years since they sailed the world never entirely forgot them and that the people of Nunavut and Canada have made this astonishing news possible.

I am sure much more will be released about the ship in the next few days but it is already clear that much of it has survived.  In the years to come as researchers investigate it and recover what evidence they can from it I am sure our understanding of what happened to Franklin and his men will be revolutionised.

And in the excitement, let us just spare a moment, and perhaps a prayer, for the men who died and whose frozen watery tomb this is, and for their loved ones, every single one of whom lived out their days and died without ever knowing what happened to their menfolk.

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