A screw iron bung

An iron screw bung, possibly from a water bottle or powder case, from the 1845 British Northwest Passage Expedition led by Sir John Franklin. The bung is cut with screw threads at one end below a grooved flange, above which is a wider head grooved around the sides for ease of gripping, and stamped with the Government broad arrow.

The screw bung was possibly found by Lieutenant William R. Hobson's sledge team on 3 May 1859 at an abandoned camp site at Cape Felix, King William Island, as part of the search expedition led by Captain F. L. McClintock. Hobson does not record it in his report. [Stenton, 'Arctic' v.69, No. 4, pp. 514-515]. McClintock maybe referring to it under the heading of items not retrieved 'metal part of powder case' [McClintock, 'Voyage of the Fox' (1860), p.369]. The camp site was occupied by about twelve officers and men from the Franklin expedition during the summer of 1847, living in three small tents. They were probably engaged in surveying, scientific work or hunting while the expeditions ships remained trapped in the ice. The site was apparently abandoned in a hurry - Hobson found the tents flattened with blankets and bear skins underneath. He concluded that, as the party had left behind so much of their equipment, they had probably gone back to the ships.

There is no reference in the 1913 Royal Naval Museum, Greenwich, catalogue to it being on display. The item is 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. 11 (left, below cleaning rods).

Object Details

ID: AAA2357
Collection: Polar Equipment and Relics
Type: Iron plug
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: Hobson, William Robert
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
Measurements: 32 x 27 mm

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