POLITICS
09/09/2014 06:26 EDT | Updated 11/09/2014 05:59 EST

Some key facts about the ill-fated Franklin expedition of 1845

OTTAWA - Some facts about the Sir John Franklin expedition:

Ships: HMS Erebus, 372 tons, 32 metres long, 8.8 metres in beam; HMS Terror 325 tons, 31 metres long, 8.2 metres in beam.

Crew: 129 officers and men.

Supplies: Food for three years and 180 tonnes of coal.

Departure: Sailed from England May 19, 1845.

Last sighting: Erebus and Terror were seen by a whaling ship off Greenland at the end of July 1845.

First relief efforts: Two ships sent out in 1848 to search the western end of the Northwest Passage beyond the Bering Strait. They found no trace of the expedition.

Reward: In 1850, the British admiralty offered a reward of 20,000 pounds for anyone finding and rescuing the expedition. There was 10,000 pounds offered for anyone who could at least discover what happened to the ships and men.

News: In 1859, a search party scouring King William Island found a cairn with a message dated April 25, 1848. It said the crew had abandoned their ships on April 22 and headed south for the mainland. It also noted: "Sir John Franklin died on the 11th June 1847."