The Erebus and Terror were two British warships that were last seen disappearing into a pack ice of Davis Strait. Sir John Franklin was the commander of the Erebus and Terror warships along with one hundred and twenty-nine officers and men (Great Canadian Explorers, 3). Sir John Franklin was an avid explorer and statesmen who ironically lost his life during what could have been one of his greatest expeditions.
Sir John Franklin was born on April 16th, 1786 in Spilsby, Lincolnshire, England. He was the forth son of nine children. Sir John Franklin experienced his first taste of the sea at age twelve when he visited Saltfleet. He joined the Navy at age fourteen and fought in two of the greatest sea battles: Copenhagen in 1801 and Trafalgar in 1805 (Sir John Franklin, 1). These battles were during the Napoleonic Wars (Franklin, Sir John, 1). Sir John Franklin was a midmanship on Matthew Flinders" voyage around Australia in 1803 (A to Z History, 1). Being shipwrecked off Australia did not deter the young John Franklin who later took part in exploration to the Arctic (Sir John Franklin, 1).
In 1819, Sir John Franklin explored the Mouth of the Coppermine River, in what is now northern Canada, while leading his first Arctic expedition (A to Z History, 1). Sir John Franklin is often referred to as "The man who ate his boots", while commanding this first expedition to the Arctic he and his companions suffered incredible hardships and survived by eating lichen and leather from their boots (Sir John Franklin, 1). The ship Sir John Franklin commanded was named the Trent and lasted from 1819 to 1822. In Sir John Franklin's second expedition he traced the North American coastline from the Mouth of the Mackenzie River on the Beaufront Sea in Northwestern Canada to about the one hundred and fiftieth meridian in Northeastern Alaska (Franklin, Sir John, 1). .
In 1829, Sir John Franklin was awarded the Geographic Society Gold Medal and was knighted by King George IV.