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Memorial to Lt. Bellot on Beechey Island, 1854
Engraving showing a memorial erected on Beechey Island to Lieutenant Bellot, who served and died during one of the expeditions searching for Sir John Franklin's ill-fated Arctic expedition of 1845. Bellot died in August 1853, while on a sledge party from HMS 'North Star'. In 1845 the British Admiralty sent two polar exploration ships, HMS 'Erebus' and HMS 'Terror', to look for the Northwest passage round the northern coast of Canada. The expedition, commanded by Sir John Franklin, disappeared from view late in 1845 and none of the men were ever seen again. In fact the ships made it to the King William Island region, then got stuck in the ice. With supplies running out the surviving crew abandoned ship and headed south. However, none made it to safety and it is assumed all died from disease, exposure or starvation. From 1848 onwards a number of relief expeditions were sent to find Franklin, but it was only in 1859 that Francis Leopold McClintock was able to confirm Franklin's fate. Date: 1854
© Illustrated London News Ltd/Mary Evans