Base of a brass pocket compass.

The base of a pocket compass from the 1845 British Northwest Passage Expedition led by Sir John Franklin. The compass has a glass insert, discoloured from rust. The lid of this compass is AAA2332.

The pocket compass was found at the boat site in Erebus Bay by Captain F. L. McClintock’s sledge team on 30 May 1859, as part of the search expedition led by McClintock. The site had been visited and partially investigated by Lt. William Hobson on 24 May but his report does not list everything he saw or removed. McClintock records ‘two brass pocket compasses’ [McClintock, Voyage of the Fox (1859), page 366.]

The pocket compass was displayed at the Royal Naval Museum, Greenwich, case 2, No. 50 ‘Pocket compass’. The item is shown with its lid in ‘Stereoscopic slides of the relics of Sir John Franklin’s Expedition’ photographed by Lieutenant Cheyne RN, at the United Services Museum, Whitehall, No. 5 (middle, right side).

Object Details

ID: AAA2208
Collection: Polar Equipment and Relics
Type: Pocket compass
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
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
Measurements: Overall: 13 x 57 mm

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