Burial of John Franklin. Author: me


Kabloonas is the way in which the Inuit who live in the north part of Canada call those who haven´t their same ascendency.

The first time i read this word was in the book "Fatal Passage" by Ken McGoogan, when, as the result of the conversations between John Rae and some inuit, and trying to find any evidence of the ill-fated Sir John Franklin Expedition, some of then mentioned that they watched how some kabloonas walked to die in the proximities of the river Great Fish.

I wish to publish this blog to order and share all those anecdotes that I´ve been finding in the arctic literature about arctic expeditions. My interest began more than 15 years ago reading a little book of my brother about north and south pole expeditions. I began reading almost all the bibliography about Antarctic expeditions and the superknown expeditions of Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton, etc. After I was captured by the Nansen, Nobile and Engineer Andree. But the most disturbing thing in that little book, full of pictures, was the two pages dedicated to the last Franklin expedition of the S.XIX, on that moment I thought that given the time on which this and others expeditions happened, few or any additional information could be obtained about it. I couldn´t imagine that after those two pages It would be a huge iceberg full of stories, unresolved misteries, anecdotes, etc. I believe that this iceberg, on the contrary than others, would continue growing instead melting.

viernes, 28 de junio de 2019


A good number of times I have heard or read that more people died trying to find Franklin and his men than in the expedition itself, an affirmation which I have always thought was an exaggerated one.  

We have talked about that previosuly in this blog, but though I don´t have yet the precise figures of the men who died in the pack of expeditions which departed trying to locate the missing Franklin expedition, it is hard to imagine that the number of casualties during all of them could reach 129, which is a very big number.

Time ago, while reading the narratives of those searching expeditions, I was curious about those other graves which splashed the arctic scenario like those so famous of Beechey island. I started to compile the names of all those men, noting the date they died, the causes of their deaths, ranks, burial places, etc.

I wrote about Port Leopold, Dealy island, North Star Bay, Griffith island and other places trying to raise certain awareness about the men who lie there, thinking than in those remote places there were incorrupted bodies like the three from Beechey island. Graves, sometimes unlocated but which a day long time ago, beared forgotten names. Those names are not written in tombstones in the heads of their graves, sometimes because, as I said above, the burial sites are not located and in the rest of the cases because nobody has replaced the original and lost headstones for new ones, like happened with those of the Franklin men.

I am publishing the list here now, and will update these days because my intention is to finish it and convert it into an exhaustive one. My original intention was to publish an article about this subject but I have realised that surely this thing is never going to happen in the short term. 

Meanwhile, here is the list of those forgotten men who, in some cases, are sleeping, likely, uncorrepted in their lost graves there, in the north, very far from their houses and descendants. 

It is not clear however where I have to look to fulfill the incomplete lost. There is no uniform agreement regarding the expeditions which should be considered as "Searching expeditions" as such. There is an interesting article by W.Gillies Ross called "The Type and Number of Expeditions in the Franklin search 1847-1859" which adress the topic. I will look into the pages of the narratives of the following list wich is part of a data base on which I am working which gathers all the polar expeditions of all times. For now, the death toll reaches the not at all insignificant number of 39.

This project (the list of lost men who died while looking for Franklin) evolved in a more massive and ambitious one which I call the Artcic Graveyard on which I am trying to locate all the places where arctic and antarctic explorers died. To this task I have counted with the unexpected help of the polar expert Jonathan Dore who added to my already long list, a huge number of men. I hope to be able to publish this map here in my blog soon.  

5 comentarios:

  1. Robert Scott fell down a hatchway and suffered internal injuries leading to death. Actually, I am surprised that more men did not die from falls on these voyages . Those men up in the yards handling the sails in all kinds of weather certainly were at risk.

  2. Specially if they were frozen up and his limbs were numb.

  3. Thank you. I thought that McClintock 9nly lost 2 men on the Fox, but now I know better!

  4. Yes, Silvia, this three men, they died under different circunstances each. A low rate of casualties nevertheless taking into account they spent two winters in the arctic:

    George Brands (Engineer): Apoplexy 6/11/1858
    Thomas Blackwell (Ships Steward): Scurvy 14/6/1859
    Robert Scott (Lead stocker): Fall 4/12/1859