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Lost Beneath the Ice: The Story of HMS Investigator
Synopses & Reviews
When Sir John Franklin disappeared in the Arctic in the 1840s, the British Admiralty launched the largest rescue mission in its history. Among the search vessels was HMS Investigator, which left England in 1850 under the command of Captain Robert McClure. While the ambitious McClure never found Franklin, he and his crew did discover the fabled Northwest Passage.
Like Franklin's ships, though, Investigator disappeared in the most remote, bleak and unknown place on Earth. For three winters, its 66 souls were trapped in the unforgiving ice of Mercy Bay. They suffered cold, darkness, starvation, scurvy, boredom, depression and madness. When they were rescued in 1853, Investigator was abandoned.
For more than a century and a half, the ship's fate remained a mystery. Had it been crushed by the ice or swept out to sea? In 2010, Parks Canada sent a team of archaeologists to Mercy Bay to find out. It was a formidable challenge, demanding expertise and patience. There, off the shores of Aulavik National Park, they found Investigator.
Lost Beneath the Ice is a tale of endurance, daring, deceit, courage, and irony. It is a story about a tempestuous crew, their mercurial captain, cynical surgeon and kind-hearted missionary. In the end, McClure found fame but lost his ship, some of his crew and much of his honour. Written with elegance and authority, illustrated with archival imagery and startling underwater photographs of Investigator and its artifacts, this is a sensational story of discovery and intrigue in Canada's Arctic.
Andrew Cohen is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. Among his books are While Canada Slept, a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award, The Unfinished Canadian, and Extraordinary Canadians: Lester B. Pearson. He writes a nationally syndicated column for The Ottawa Citizen and comments regularly on CTV. A professor of journalism and international affairs at Carleton University, he is founding president of the Historica-Dominion Institute. He has twice received Queen's Jubilee Medals.
In 1850, HMS Investigator was sent to search for the lost Franklin ships. They failed, becoming trapped in the ice, but completed Franklin's quest for the Northwest Passage. This book recounts the voyage and Parks Canada's discovery of the wreck.
In 1850, Captain Robert McClure and the crew of HMS Investigator were sent to search for any survivors of Sir John Franklin's Arctic expedition. Captain McClure and his crew failed in that mission, but succeeded in locating the final leg of the Northwest Passage that Franklin had been seeking. After multiple setbacks and close to death from starvation and scurvy, the crew was rescued by a Royal Navy sledge team from HMS Resolute. HMS Investigator was abandoned in Mercy Bay in 1853.
In 2010, Parks Canada sent a team of archaeologists to locate what was left of the wreck. One hundred and sixty years later, despite sophisticated technological advancements, a mission to the Arctic was still a formidable challenge. Yet Parks Canada was able to locate HMS Investigator, which was discovered in excellent condition on the floor of Mercy Bay, off the shore of what is now Aulavik National Park.
Lost Beneath the Ice is the fascinating story of McClure's ill-fated expedition as well as the compelling story of the ongoing exploration of Canada's Arctic. This lavishly illustrated book brings together the past and present through historical images of the Franklin and McClure expeditions and the first amazing underwater images of the HMS Investigator and the artifacts found with it.
About the Author
Andrew Cohen is a journalist and professor of journalism and international affairs at Carleton University. His best-selling books include While Canada Slept, a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award, and The Unfinished Canadian. He writes a syndicated column with Postmedia Newspapers and is a regular commentator on TV.
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