Alison arranged for me to be able to photograph the Victory Point Record in London on February 5th. Blowing up my photos, I can see a fingerprint at the bottom of the note.
Copyright: The National Archives / Image: Logan Zachary
“They may be portions of one of Sir John Franklin’s ships. God grant that the crews are safe.”
Logan followed a lead all the way to London, and made a fantastic breakthrough: https://twitter.com/LoganoZaccaria/status/1199626722204934144
The fingerpost found on Beechey Island was definitely at the former Royal United Services Museum for maybe two-thirds of the 20th Century. Logan thought he could see it in the photograph above, but how to prove it? Well, it involved a lot of hard work in the RUSI Library, which he detailed in a long post for the Remembering the Franklin Expedition history club over on Facebook.
The clincher jumped out at him, magic-eye style, after weeks of studying the photo. That’s the Beechey Island anvil, right next to the post.
Picture a Victorian graveyard, and you’re probably picturing something like this. It’s ornate, melodramatic, well-manicured, and photogenic. Large swathes of Kensal Green Cemetery are like this. But important parts of it aren’t.
At 10am on Thursday 15 August 2019, I walked into The National Archives in Kew, London, to look for some missing journals. I didn’t find them. What I did find was the Beechey Papers, a collection of Franklin relics that were assumed to be lost.
I was astonished to find scraps of journals, newspapers and other fragments of printed and hand-written materials that were clearly marked as having been picked up where the crews of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror had spent the winter of 1845-1846.