Sir John Franklin's ill-fated expedition in search of the North West Passage, with H.M.S. Erebus and Terror and over 133 men under his command, sailed from England on 19th May, 1845.
Both ships were fitted with the latest technology, including reinforced bows and retractable propellers and rudders, to enable them to withstand the demanding conditions of the voyage. However, after various mishaps, the two ships became ice-bound in Victoria Strait near King William Island in the Canadian Arctic, and the entire expedition was lost.
The fate of the ships and crew was widely publicised, and numerous expeditions set out to try and ascertain what had happened to them. Rumours of poor organisation and even cannibalism created a sensation in the press, but despite this Franklin was hailed as a hero and his 'lost expedition' became legendary.