Friday 18 March 2016

Roll Call of the Doomed

The sides of the pedestal of Franklin's statue in Waterloo Place, London, list the names of the full complement of the expedition's lost, cast in bronze. To produce what I hope is a definitive list, I have combined the names from the plaques with my own transcriptions of the muster books of Erebus and Terror in the National Archives.



Sir J. Franklin Kt. K.C.H.Captain11
James FitzjamesCommander12
Graham GoreLieutenant16
H.T.D. Le VesconteLieutenant13
J.W. FairholmeLieutenant17
Robert O. SergentMate19
Charles F. Des VœuxMate14
Edward CouchMate110
James ReidMaster (Acting)18
Stephen S. StanleySurgeon22
Charles H. OsmerPaymaster & Purser21
Harry D.S. GoodsirSurgeon (Acting)23
Henry F. CollinsSecond Master15
Thomas TerryBoatswain, 3rd Class41
John WeekesCarpenter, 2nd Class43
John GregoryEngineer, 1st Class44


Samuel BrownBoatswain's mate27Hull, Yorks.54
Richard WallShip's Cook45Hull, Yorks.55
Robert SinclairCaptain of the Foretop25Kirkwall, Orkney56
Joseph AndrewsCaptain of the Hold35Edmonton, Middx.51
William FowlerPaymaster & Purser's Steward26Bristol, Somerset57
James W. BrownCaulker28Deptford, Kent59
John CowieStoker32Bermondsey, Surrey510
John SullivanCaptain of the Maintop24Gillingham, Kent515
Phillip ReddingtonCaptain of Forecastle28Brompton, Kent516
John MurraySailmaker43Glasgow, Lanarks.520
John BridgensSubordinate Officers' Steward26Woolwich, Kent521
Thomas WatsonCarpenter's Mate40Gt. Yarmouth, Norfolk522
Thomas PlaterStokerWestminster, Middx.523
William SmithBlacksmith28Thibnam [Tibenham], Norfolk524
Francis DunnCaulker's Mate25Llanelly, S. Wales525
Edmund HoarCaptain's Steward23Portsea, Hants528
Daniel ArthurQuartermaster35Aberdeen532
William BellQuartermaster36Dundee, Forfar543
John Downing2nd Quartermaster34Plymouth, Devon552
James HartLeading Stoker33Hampstead, Middx554
Richard AylmoreGunroom Steward24Southampton, Hants555
James RigdenCaptain's Coxwain32Upper Deal, Kent518


George ThompsonAB27Staines, Berks58
John HartnellAB25Brompton, Kent511
John SticklandAB24Portsmouth, Hants.513
Thomas HartnellAB23Chatham, Kent512
William OrrenAB34Chatham, Kent517
William ClossanAB25Shetland519
Charles CoombsAB28Greenwich, Kent53
John MorfinAB25Gainsboro., Lincolns.529
Charles BestAB23Fareham, Hants.540
Thomas Mc. ConveyAB24Liverpool, Lancs.541
Henry LloydAB26Christiansen, Norway542
Thomas WorkAB41Kirkwall, Orkney544
Robert FerrierAB29Perth545
Josephus GeaterAB32London, Middx.546
George WilliamsAB35Holyhead, Angelsea547
Thomas TadmanAB28Brompton, Kent548
Abraham SeeleyAB34Gravesend, Kent549
Francis PocockAB24Upnor, Kent550
Robert JohnsAB24Penryn, Cornwall551
William MarkAB24Holyhead, Angelsea552


Daniel BryantSergeant31.5Shepton Montague, Somerset71
Alexander Paterson*Corporal30Inverness91
Robert HopcraftPrivate38.8Nottingham, Notts.81
William PilkingtonPrivate28.4Kilrush, Clare92
William BrainePrivate31.3Oakhill, Somerset93
Joseph HealeyPrivate29.10Manchester, Lancs.94
William ReedPrivate28.8Bristol, Somerset95


George ChambersBoy, 1st Class18Woolwich, Kent61
David YoungBoy, 1st Class18Sheerness, Kent62



F.R.M. CrozierCaptain11
Edward LittleLieutenant12
George H. HodgsonLieutenant13
John IrvingLieut15
Frederick HornbyMate13
Robert ThomasMate14
Thomas BlankyMaster (Acting)17
John S. PeddieSurgeon (Acting)21
Alexander Mc. DonaldAssistant Surgeon22
G.A. MacBeanSecond Master16
E. J. H. HelpmanClerk in Charge31
Thomas HoneyCarpenter, 3rd Class41
John LaneBoatswain, 3rd Class42
James ThompsonEngineer, 1st Class (Acting)43


John DiggleShip's Cook36Westminster, London52
Henry PeglarCaptain of the Foretop37London, Middx.53
William GibsonSubordinate Officers' Steward22London, Middx.512
Cornelius HickeyCaulker's Mate24Limerick513
William GoddardCaptain of the Hold29Gt. Yarmouth, Norfolk515
Reuben MaleCaptain of the Forecastle27Woolwich, Kent517
Alexander WilsonCarpenter's Mate27Holy Island, N. Durham518
John WilsonCaptain's Coxwain33Portsea, Hants520
Thomas DarlingtonCaulker29Plymouth, Devon521
William JohnsonStoker45Kiston-Lindsey, Lincolns.522
Thomas R. FarrCaptain of the Maintop32Deptford, Kent523
Luke SmithStoker27London, Middx.537
David Mc. DonaldQuartermaster46Peterhead, Scotland540
John KenleyQuartermaster44St. Monance, Fifeshire553
William RhodesQuartermaster31Redingstreet, Kent556
Thomas JohnsonBoatswain's Mate28Wisbeach, Cambridge546
Thomas ArmitageGunroom Steward40Chatham, Kent549
Samuel HoneyBlacksmith22Plymouth, Devon550
Thomas JopsonCaptain's Steward27Marylebone, Middx.552
Edward GengePaymaster's Steward21Gosport, Hants.555
John TorringtonLeading Stoker19Manchester558


George J. CannAB23Battersea, Middx.51
William StrongAB22Portsmouth, Hants.54
David SimsAB24Gedney, Lincoln.55
John BaileyAB21Leyton, Essex56
William JerryAB29Pembroke, Wales58
Henry SaitAB23Bognor, Sussex514
Alexander BerryAB32S. Ferry, Fifeshire516
John HandfordAB28Sunderland524
John Bates*AB24London, Middx.525
Samuel CrispeAB24Lynn, Norfolk536
Charles JohnsonAB28Halifax, Nova Scotia538
William ShanksAB29Dundee, Scotland539
David LeysAB37Montrose, Scotland541
William SinclairAB30Sallaway [Galloway], Scotland542
George KinnairdAB23Hastings, Sussex543
Ed. LawrenceAB30London, Middx.547
Magnus MansonAB28Shetland, Scotland548
James WalkerAB29S. Shields554
William WentzallAB33London, Middx.557


Solomon TozerSergeant34Axbridge, Somerset71
William HedgesCorporal30Bradford, Wilts91
William HeatherPrivate35Battersea, Surrey81
Henry WilkesPrivate28Leicester92
John HammondPrivate32Bradford, Yorks.93
James DalyPrivate30Luberclue [Tubberclare], Westmeath94


Robert GoldingBoy19Deptford, Kent61
Thomas EvansBoy18Deptford, Kent63

The final two columns, "List" and "No.", refer to the individual lists within the muster books and the number of each man within them. The titles of the lists referred to above are shown in the following table.

1. Commissioned Officers - Military Branch
2. Commissioned Officers - Civil Branch
3. Subordinate Officers
4. Warrant Officers
5. Ship's Company
6. Boys, 1st Class
7. Marines, Not Classed
8. Marines, 1st Class
9. Marines, 3rd Class

Andrew Lambert notes that "In February 1914 the Board of Works corrected the spelling of des Voeux's name from des Vauex, and changed le Vesconte's middle initial from F to T in 1931, at £2 a time. Then the Board checked the Admiralty record to ensure there were no more errors."

I have to take issue with the Board of Works in two cases, Alexander Paterson of HMS Erebus, and Able Seaman John Bates of HMS Terror, who gain a "t" and lose an "s", respectively, on the plaques.

Even the legendary Richard Cyriax was not immune to error. His transcription of the muster lists spells the surname of William Clossan as "Closson" and renames Sergeant Daniel Bryant as David.

In the light of the above, I can make no claims for perfection, but hope that this is an improvement on previous compilations.

Correction: 25 July 2023. The surname of 1st Mate on Erebus, Robert O. Sergent had been erroneously listed as Sergeant. Big thanks to Logan Zachary for reporting the error.


  1. Thanks for this, Peter. I might however mention that the domestic ratings were unclassed at this time, and were not petty officers.

  2. Thanks Peter, this is a fabulous resource! By domestic ratings, Glenn, do you mean the stewards?

  3. Thanks for the kind comments, both. The categories are as they appear on the bronze plaques. Perhaps we can think of the stewards receiving a postumous promotion when the monument was unveiled in 1866.

  4. Perhaps a third source would be the periodic Admiralty List books, listing of officers and , perhaps crew. I looked at the early 1850s version. Before the ships were declared lost for good, several of the officers had been promoted after the expedition started.

  5. I'm a little late with praise, but I have to mention just how often I've used this resource over the past month or so. Thanks for the hard work in compiling it, Peter!

  6. Great list! One question if I can: there is missing "Thomas Burt, Armorer, age 22" among petty officers at Erebus, see and . Is he missing at the pedestal?

    1. I reply youself (I hurried too much to ask). Thomas Burt was sent home from Greenland. Somehow he managed to get to the lists of Erebus crew instead of James Hart (leading stoker is missing in some of these lists).

  7. Is there more information on each individual in the muster books then what is listed here?

  8. Hi Peter I see that Marine Joseph Healey on the Erebus as listed in Manchester would you know his address Iv'e found that he come from Middelton but I'm unable to find the street etc.

  9. Hi Peter,
    My father and I have taken a keen interest in your blog since discovering (only this week through that Thomas Armitage (one of the petty officers on board the Terror) is our fourth and fifth times grandfather. We are making contact to see if anything else is known about him and the rest of the crew and to thank you this wonderful blog which has got us so excited about continuing our research.
    Best wishes,
    Andy (son) and Nigel (father)

  10. Hi My Great Great Grandfather was Thomas Armitage, Gunroom Steward and myself and my son Andrew are keen to learn as much as possible about the crew members and the ordeal they must have gone through. Did Thomas manage to survive to the very end. Is it possible that the ship can be recovered and brought back to England. Is it likely that there will be a memorial service for the crew with any remains being brought back home. Nigel and Andrew Hardy

    1. Armitage may have been the person they found that was carrying the peglar papers

  11. I stand corrected by dad - Thomas must be my great great great grandfather.

  12. Great information, thank you.

  13. My ancestor Able Seaman David Sims on HMS Terror was only "known as" David by his family and obviously signed up under that name and is recorded on ALL named memorials under this name and on muster rolls. He was actually baptised and recorded in death on his Will as HENRY JEREMIAH SIMS otherwise DAVID. No one is aware of this information! the memorial at Gravesend records him at DAVID TIMS which is totally incorrect!

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  15. Josephus Geater was my great great grandfather

  16. I know this is probably a long shot and it's an old post but would anyone want to hazard a guess as to why William Bell (quartermaster on Erebus) is listed as being from "Dundee, Forfar", as these are two separate towns in Scotland which are about half an hour's drive (by modern transport) from each other? Found it a bit curious, as both are in the same county of Angus.

  17. Have "familytalk" of a family ancestor that may have set sail and disappeared on the dubious Franklin Expedition. Unfortunately have only "Edwards" as clue for family name. Supposedly from Kent as family tale goes. Was to say a tall person exceptionaly tall and known enough to be the "Great Man of Kent" as could be recounted, as some element of folklore, but now lost to history...

    1. How did you come to find different names than cyriax?

  18. My son has been researching our family tree and has discovered that my great great grandfather was John Kenley, Quartermaster on HMS Terror. This list is great

    1. Good to hear from you. I have met quite a few people whose ancestors were on the expedition, and corresponded with others who I haven't yet met. I can recommend the Facebook group "Remembering the Franklin Expedition" as a friendly forum where information about the expedition and its crews are shared and discussed.


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