Fragments of the cuff of a coat

Fragments of a navy blue coat, now reduced to powder, from the 1845 British Northwest Passage Expedition led by Sir John Franklin. The box also contains a few small silk buttons. The Illustrated London News from 15 October 1859 (page 363) shows the original item to be a cuff with three buttons and edged button holes. The decorative edging of the button holes is still recognisable.

The fragments of the coat were found with the skeleton located about nine miles east of Cape Herschel by Captain F. L. McClintock's sledge team on 25 May 1859, as part of the search expedition led by him from the 'Fox'. McClintock described finding a skeleton 'lying upon its face'. Initially the skeleton was identified as Henry Peter Peglar (1811-1848), Captain of the Foretop, HMS Terror, due to the contents of the pocket book relating to Peglar. However, it is now believed to be that of his friend Thomas Armitage (c1807-1848), Gunroom Steward from HMS Terror. McClintock describes his clothing: 'the dress appeared to be that of a steward or officer's servant, the loose bow-knot in which his neck-handkerchief was tied not being used by seamen or officers... - the blue jacket with slashed sleeves and braided edging, and the pilot-cloth great coat with plain covered buttons. [McClintock, Voyage of the Fox (1858), page 275].

The two buttons were displayed at the Royal Naval Museum, Greenwich, Case 2, No. 27. 'Part of cloth waistcoat found close to a skeleton, 9 miles E. of Cape Herschel...'. The item in its complete form is also shown in - 'Stereoscopic slides of the relics of Sir John Franklin's Expedition' photographed by Lieutenant Cheyne RN, at the United Services Museum, Whitehall, No. 3.

Object Details

ID: AAA2117
Collection: Polar Equipment and Relics
Type: Coat fragment
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Unknown
Events: Arctic Exploration: Franklin's Last Expedition, 1845-1848; Arctic Exploration: Franklin Search Expedition, McClintock, 1857-1859
Vessels: Fox (1855)
Date made: Before 1845
People: Peglar, Henry Peter; Armitage, Thomas
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
Measurements: Overall: 8.8 mm x 13.6 mm x 13.6 mm

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