Burial of John Franklin. Author: me


Kabloonas is the way in which the Inuit who live in the north part of Canada call those who haven´t their same ascendency.

The first time i read this word was in the book "Fatal Passage" by Ken McGoogan, when, as the result of the conversations between John Rae and some inuit, and trying to find any evidence of the ill-fated Sir John Franklin Expedition, some of then mentioned that they watched how some kabloonas walked to die in the proximities of the river Great Fish.

I wish to publish this blog to order and share all those anecdotes that I´ve been finding in the arctic literature about arctic expeditions. My interest began more than 15 years ago reading a little book of my brother about north and south pole expeditions. I began reading almost all the bibliography about Antarctic expeditions and the superknown expeditions of Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton, etc. After I was captured by the Nansen, Nobile and Engineer Andree. But the most disturbing thing in that little book, full of pictures, was the two pages dedicated to the last Franklin expedition of the S.XIX, on that moment I thought that given the time on which this and others expeditions happened, few or any additional information could be obtained about it. I couldn´t imagine that after those two pages It would be a huge iceberg full of stories, unresolved misteries, anecdotes, etc. I believe that this iceberg, on the contrary than others, would continue growing instead melting.

lunes, 14 de agosto de 2017


Encouraged by the finding, by a member of the Franklin expedition facebook group, of a portrait of William Mogg, a fairly unknown veteran of two arctic expeditions, I have recovered my interest in one of the main hobbies I practiced when I got hooked by the mistery of the Franklin expedition. This particular hobby was typing in "Google images" the names of the explorers which participated in the Franklin searching parties, and other related expeditions. Among those names, from time to time, I typed randomly the names of some of the participants of the Franklin expedition to see if any portrait of them shows up.

In order of not losing it forever again in the mists of the Internet, I began to compile those rare portraits of George Back, John Rae, John Ross, William Parker Snow, etc. in a Pinterest board, which allows you to pick up whatever image you want from the virtual world without the need of uploading it. Since a year or so, this is a cooperative project where some people are kindly adding new pictures:


My fishing in Google was focused mainly on the officers of the Franklin expedition, thinking that the chances they had of having been protrayed would be higher. Till now I have never been lucky. At the beginning, I wasn´t very confident that sailors could have any available portrait but it is my understanding that not ordinary men participated in those kind of coveted expeditions. I thought that some of those anonymous men could not only have been experienced sailors who had been already sailing with the officers of the expedition, but also recommendations (surely far relatives) of prominent people of the time. If you scratch a bit in the lifes of the more known seamen which participated in such expeditions, you will notice inmediately that there was always a healthy uncle or a rich family friend who surely granted a position for them in the exploration´s ships. That would increase the chances that some silhouette or small portrait of them could finally appear. Many of them, surely were ordered being made right before departing.

Maybe, now that the facebook Franklin group counts with more than one thousand and one hundred members, if some of its participants decided to join this weird hobbie of mine, new faces will give life to those names and surnames of those of our beloved 128 men who doesn´t have a face yet.

Some faces are coming from facial reconstructions made from the skulls (here too) found in King William island, but we will never now the accuracy, or even the actual identity, of those works if there aren´t pictures or portraits with which compare them. Shall this branch of the science should test its results making some facial reconstruction of people from which we already known know how their faces actually were?. I have the feeling that a reconstruction of John Irving´s skull will give us the face of Franklin...

Here there are another kind of facial reconstructions, this time made from the remains of John Hartnell. I tried this same thing long long time ago with Photoshop and the result was such a bizarre joke that I had to remove from my files not to dishonor him.

Till recent days, we though that only the famous daguerrotypes of Richard Beard were available, but the discovery of the picture of the Lieutenant John Irving, or the existence of that small portrait of John Hartnell´s brother, should encourage us to keep on looking in The Internet and asking the distant relatives of those men to see among the old photographs they could have in their attics. The number of pictures being scanned or photographied is increasing with time, it is a matter of time that new faces will show up.

The help of the relatives of those men here is a decissive factor to find that lost clues, if it finally happens that they actually exist.


A good starting point would be making a Excel file with all the names of the men and highlight those from who we already have a picture or painting. For now an easy task taking into account that there is only one portrait (Irving´s one) apart of the 14 Beard´s portraits.

In the following link is the Excel file, I took the list from Peter Carney´s blog post: "Roll call of the doomed".

Let´s do this, let´s find those lost faces and see right into their eyes.