HMS Terror (OC12004)
HMS Terror was a specialized warship and a newly developed bomb vessel constructed for the Royal Navy in 1813. She participated in several battles of the War of 1812, including the Battle of Baltimore with the bombardment of Fort McHenry. She was converted into a polar exploration ship two decades later, and participated in George Back’s Arctic expedition of 1836–1837, the Ross expedition of 1839 to 1843, and Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated attempt to force the Northwest Passage in 1845, during which she was lost with all hands along with HMS Erebus.
On 12 September 2016, the Arctic Research Foundation announced that the wreck of Terror had been found in Nunavut’s Terror Bay, off the southwest coast of King William Island. The wreck was discovered 92 km (57 mi) south of the location where the ship was reported abandoned, and some 50 km (31 mi) from the wreck of HMS Erebus, discovered in 2014.
In the mid-1830s, Terror was refitted as a polar exploration vessel. Her design as a bomb ship meant she had an unusually strong framework to resist the recoil of her heavy mortars; thus, she could withstand the pressure of polar sea ice, as well.
In 1836, command of Terror was given to Captain George Back for an Arctic expedition to Hudson Bay. The expedition aimed to enter Repulse Bay, where it would send out landing parties to ascertain whether the Boothia Peninsula was an island or a peninsula. Terror was trapped by ice near Southampton Island, and did not reach Repulse Bay. At one point, the ice forced her 12 m (39 ft) up the face of a cliff. She was trapped in the ice for ten months. In the spring of 1837, an encounter with an iceberg further damaged the ship. She nearly sank on her return journey across the Atlantic, and was in a sinking condition by the time Back was able to beach the ship on the coast of Ireland on 21 September.
On 15 August 2008, Parks Canada, an agency of the Government of Canada, announced a C$75,000 six-week search, deploying the icebreaker CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier with the goal of finding the two ships. The search was also intended to strengthen Canada’s claims of sovereignty over large portions of the Arctic. Further attempts to locate the ships were undertaken in 2010, 2011, and 2012, all of which failed to locate the ships’ remains.
On 8 September 2014, it was announced that the wreckage of one of Franklin’s ships was found on 7 September using a remotely operated underwater vehicle recently acquired by Parks Canada. On 1 October 2014, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the remains were that of Erebus.
On 12 September 2016, a team from the Arctic Research Foundation announced that a wreck close to Terror’s description had been located on the southern coast of King William Island in the middle of Terror Bay (68°54′N 98°56′W), at a depth of 69–79 ft (21–24 m). The remains of the ships are designated a National Historic Site of Canada with the exact location withheld to preserve the wrecks and prevent looting.
Sammy Kogvik, an Inuit hunter and member of the Canadian Rangers who joined the crew of the Arctic Research Foundation’s Martin Bergmann, recalled an incident from seven years earlier in which he encountered what appeared to be a mast jutting from the ice. With this information, the ship’s destination was changed from Cambridge Bay to Terror Bay, where researchers located the wreck in just 2.5 hours. According to Louie Kamookak, a resident of nearby Gjoa Haven and a historian on the Franklin expedition, Parks Canada had ignored the stories of locals that suggested that the wreck of Terror was in its namesake bay, despite many modern stories of sightings by hunters and from airplanes.
The wreck was found in excellent condition. A wide exhaust pipe that rose from the outer deck was pivotal in identifying the ship. It was located in the same location where the smokestack from Terror’s locomotive engine had been installed. The wreck was nearly 100 km (62 mi) south of where historians thought its final resting place was, calling into question the previously accepted account of the fate of the sailors, that they died while trying to walk out of the Arctic to the nearest Hudson’s Bay Company trading post.
The location of the wreckage, and evidence in the wreckage of anchor usage, indicates continued use, raising the possibility that some of the sailors had attempted to re-man the ship and sail her home (or elsewhere), possibly on orders from Crozier.
On 23 October 2017 it was announced by the UK’s defence minister, Sir Michael Fallon, that his government would be giving HMS Terror as well its sister ship HMS Erebus to Canada, retaining only a few relics and any gold, along with the right to repatriate any human remains.
In 2018, HMS Terror and HMS Erebus were gifted to Canada and the Inuit, in care of the Inuit Heritage Trust, by the government of the United Kingdom. This includes all the remaining artifacts.
** Model based on the plans of Matthew Betts.
HMS Terror (OC12004)
- Scale- 1:65
- Length- 676 mm
- Width- 195mm
- Height- 504mm
- Difficulty- Medium
- Planking- Double Planking