By Russell A. Potter
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Extra resources for Finding Franklin: The Untold Story of a 165-Year Search
Nonetheless, Dickens read these events as proof positive that no men under Franklin’s leadership would ever resort to such a thing. Figure 3 Sir Edwin Landseer, Man Proposes, God Disposes, 1864. 1909 mezzotint, collection of the author. 23 FINDING FRANKLIN A few years later, in The Frozen Deep, a play he produced with his protégé Wilkie Collins, Dickens helped stage a scene based on this very moment, set at an isolated Arctic encampment where a cook with the rather pointed name of “John Want” is pounding bones – no need to ask which bones!
These, then, are the central questions raised by the Victory Point record, and which may never be completely resolved until some further record or evidence is found. ” There was, it turns out, a second record found on King William, one similar in every respect (save the fateful addendum in the margins) to its brother. Both had been filled out by James Fitzjames aboard hms Erebus, and both repeated the same mistake (the year of the ships’ wintering there is misstated as 1846–47 rather than 1845–46).
We never did find out who he was. Having attended a number of Franklin memorials and commemorative events over the years, I can say that this was, by far, the most solemn and moving service of all, and the most beautifully conceived and presented. Of course, it had one distinction that every other such service lacked: the bones of one of Franklin’s men. The service, presided over by the Reverend Christopher Chessun, bishop of Woolwich, along with the Reverend Jeremy Frost, chaplain to the Greenwich Foundation, opened with Beethoveen’s “Funeral March on the Death of a Hero,” beautifully played on the chapel organ.