Canned Food Sealed Icemen's Fate

Questions are raised about the death of men in John Franklin’s 1845 Arctic expedition.

 Poster offering a reward for help in finding the expeditionDramatic evidence that lead poisoning was a key element in the failure of Sir John Franklin's 1845 Arctic expedition has come from the result of postmortems conducted on the preserved bodies of three of Franklin's crewmen taken from their frozen graves on Beechey Island in the Canadian Arctic.

The last trace of Franklin's expedition to search for the North-West passage to Asia, with two lavishly- equipped ships and 129 crewmen, came in April 1848 when the surviving crew (Franklin and 23 other members already having died) abandoned HMS Erebus and Terror for a march across the ice. Subsequent search expeditions discovered abandoned equipment, clothing and some human remains, but without finding either the majority of the crew or an explanation for the disaster.

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