I would say the Disaster was a product of its times.
The North Trip was planned like the South Trips but
apart from ice and snow they had little more in common.
The North Trip should have included Hudson Bay Men and
some Inuits, although the latter could have been
recruited on arrival. The men that perished encountered
native Inuits but none had been told to help or report.
No doubt Royal Navy Brevado, "we don't need any stinking
civilians". They loaded live animals for the voyage,
many of which had died by the time they reached the
Orkneys. It would have been more sensible to pick the
animals up at the Orkney's or even further North at an
established base camp. Infact 2 or 3 established
basecamps further along the passage may have worked
well. Seamen are superstitious
but whilst in
the Orkneys they did not go to see the famous old woman
who could give them a good wind. At that time
every ship passing stopped to consult her.
Franklyn was clearly not the right man for the task, he
was chosen due to his previous reputation. He was
greatly imbittered by his 'shocking' treatment as
Governor of Tasmania. and egged on by a young forceful
wife. He was so stuck on the subject that the Captain of
the Terror, which accompanied Erebus declined many
invitations to dine with him. He was also past his
prime and died early in the expedition.
They loaded a lot of the new-fangled canned food; this
may have caused early deaths due to botulism as the
Company that produced it was unable to produce the
amount required. Secondly the cans were sealed with a
huge amount of lead. Ironically, the old RN barrels of
salt pork and beef might have been a safer bet. They
took no dogs and when they did drag stuff across the
ice, they did so themselves. This was seen many times
and is no doubt a reflection of the law in the UK
banning dogs from being used to pull things.
I am of course writing with hindsight and 180 years
after the voyages. I believe though that had it of been
planned better it would not have been the disaster it
You could make a great board game out of the rush to
find the South Pole, The North West Passage. and
magnetic points. Including Politics, funding etc, plus
the actual journeys