HMS Terror (1813)


HMS Terror (1813)

HMS "Terror" was a bomb vessel designed by Sir Henry Peake and constructed by the Royal Navy in the Davy shipyard in Topsham, Devon. The ship, variously listed as being of either 326 or 340 tons, carried two mortars, one 13-inch and one 10-inch.

War service

"Terror" saw service in the War of 1812 against the United States. Under the command of John Sheridan, she took part in the bombardment of Stonington, Connecticut on 9 August - 12, 1814, and of Fort McHenry in the Battle of Baltimore on 13 September - 14, 1814; the latter attack inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled Banner". In January, 1815, still under Sheridan's command, "Terror" was involved in the attack on St. Marys, Georgia.

After the end of the War, "Terror" was laid up until 1828, when she was recommissioned for service in the Mediterranean. On 18 February 1828 she ran aground on a lee shore near Lisbon; eventually refloated, she was withdrawn from service after repairs.

Arctic service

Bomb vessels were strongly built in order to withstand the enormous recoil of their 3 ton mortars, and this made them suited to Arctic service. In 1836, command of "Terror" was given to George Back for an expedition to the northern part of Hudson Bay, with a view to entering Repulse Bay, where landing parties were to be sent out to determine whether the Boothia Peninsula was an island or a peninsula. However, "Terror" failed to reach Repulse Bay and barely survived the winter off Southampton Island, at one point being forced 40 ft up the side of a cliff by the ice. In the spring of 1837, an encounter with an iceberg further damaged the ship, which was in a sinking condition by the time Back was able to beach the ship on the coast of Ireland at Lough Swillycite book | last = Paine | first = Lincoln P. | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Ships of Discovery and Exploration | publisher = Houghton Mifflin | date = 2000 | location = | pages = pp. 139 - 140 | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 0395984157]

Ross expedition

"Terror" was repaired and next assigned to a voyage to the Antarctic in company with HMS "Erebus" under the overall command of James Clark Ross. Francis Crozier was commander of "Terror" on this expedition, which spanned three seasons from 1840 to 1843 during which "Terror" and "Erebus" made three forays into Antarctic waters, crossing the Ross Sea twice, and sailing through the Weddell Sea southeast of the Falklands Islands. The volcano Mount Terror on Ross Island was named for the ship.

Franklin expedition

"Erebus" and "Terror" were both outfitted with 20hp steam engines, and iron plating added to the hulls, for their voyage to the Arctic, with Sir John Franklin in overall command of the expedition in "Erebus", and "Terror" again under the command of Crozier. The expedition was ordered to gather magnetic data in the Canadian Arctic and complete a crossing of the Northwest Passage, which had already been charted from both the east and west but never entirely navigated.

The expedition sailed from Greenhithe on 19 May 1845 and the ships were last seen entering Baffin Bay in August 1845. The disappearance of the Franklin expedition set off a massive search effort in the Arctic and the broad circumstances of the expedition's fate was revealed during a series of expeditions between 1848 and 1866. Both ships had become icebound and were abandoned by their crews, all of whom subsequently died of exposure and starvation while trying to trek overland to Fort Resolution, a Hudson's Bay Company outpost convert|600|mi|km to the southwest. Subsequent expeditions up until the late 1980s, including autopsies of crew members, also revealed that their canned rations may have been tainted by both lead and botulism. Oral reports by local Inuit that some of the crew members resorted to cannibalism were at least somewhat supported by forensic evidence of cut marks on the skeletal remains of crew members found on King William's Island during the late 20th century.

The remains of the ship have yet to be found.

On 15 August 2008, Parks Canada, an agency of the Government of Canada announced [http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/story.html?id=147541d1-0d04-445c-963a-f9c498b32883|a CDN$75,000 six week search] , deploying the icebreaker CCGS "Sir Wilfrid Laurier" with the goal of finding the two ships. The search presumably seeks to strengthen Canada's position in sovereignty over large portions of the Arctic.

Notes

References

*Martyn Beardsly: "Deadly Winter: The Life of Sir John Franklin". ISBN 1-55750-179-3
*Owen Beattie: "Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition". ISBN 1-55365-060-3
*Pierre Berton: "The Arctic Grail". ISBN 0-670-82491-7.
*Scott Cookman: "Ice Blink: The Tragic Fate of Sir John Franklin's Lost Polar Expedition". ISBN 0-471-37790-2
*Elizabeth McGregor: "The Ice Child".
*Dan Simmons: "The Terror" (Fictionalised account of the Franklin expedition). ISBN 0-59305-762-7 (UK H/C)

External links

* [http://www.coolantarctica.com/Antarctica%20fact%20file/History/antarctic_ships/erebus_terror_antarctica.htm Erebus and Terror]
* [http://www.nypress.com/15/5/news&columns/oldsmoke.cfm "Central Park Still Awaits the British"] "New York Press" article describing "Terror"'s bombardment of Stonington
* [http://college.hmco.com/history/readerscomp/ships/html/sh_090500_hmsterror.htm Ships of the World listing]
* [http://www.pbenyon.plus.com/Naval_History/Vol_VI/Contents.html Naval History of Great Britain, volume VI]


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