The British ‘North-West Passage Expedition’ of 1845 was proposed by the Admiralty in February. The two ships allocated to the expedition, the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror, left England on 19th May 1845. The expedition wintered at Beechey Island, and then they sailed southwards along the western side of Cornwallis Island.
Later, they continued to the Victoria Strait, where three young sailors died. Initially it was thought that the sailors died of extreme weather conditions, but later it was discovered that they died of lead poisoning from canned food. The young sailors were buried on the King William Island.
The expedition gradually started meeting a terrible fate. The ice did not melt in the spring; they were trapped in the ice for 18 months. They ran out of food and supplies. John Franklin died in June 1847. The ice bound ships were abandoned and the entire crew perished from starvation, hypothermia, tuberculosis, lead poisoning and scurvy.
The dreadful fate of Sir John Franklin and his crew prevented any further exploration to the north for many years.