The Underwater Archaeology Search for Franklin's Lost Vessels: HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site

The Vessels

HMS Erebus

HMS Erebus was a bomb vessel of the Hecla class, a slightly larger version of HMS Terror’s Vesuvius class. These ship-rigged vessels (three-masts with square sails) were built solidly to carry two mortars with a complement of 10 canon including eight 24-pounder guns. Their robust construction made them good candidates for polar exploration. The 372-ton Erebus was 105 feet (32 m) long and 28.5 feet (8.7 m) wide. Built in the Pembroke dockyards in Wales, she was launched on June 7, 1826. After serving in the Mediterranean, she was modified for polar exploration and took part in James Clark Ross’ four-year expedition to the Antarctic, from 1836 to 1843, along with HMS Terror. Like Terror, Erebus was equipped with steam engines and a screw propeller for auxiliary propulsion before taking part in Sir John Franklin’s expedition.

Profile drawing of HMS Erebus HMS Erebus. Profile plan of 'Erebus' (1826)
© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London