A relic of Sir John Franklin's last expedition 1845-8. A silver, fiddle-pattern table spoon owned by Thomas Henry Dundas Le Vesconte (1813-circa 1848). It was found in an abandoned boat at Erebus Bay, King William Island, in May 1859 by the McClintock Search Expedition 1857-9. the name of the owner 'H. Le Vesconte' is engraved on the back of the handle in copperplate. It has the maker's mark of John & Henry Lias - 'IL', 'HL' and London hallmarks dated 1844.
McClintock's party reached this site on the 30 May and discovered that Hobson had been there a few days before on the 18th. The boat was 28 foot long and mounted on a heavy sledge. McClintock found it just above high tide mark pointing back in the direction of the ships and containing a large quantity of abandoned personal possessions and two skeletons. McClintock found none of the iron spoons used by the men, and concluded that the officer's plate had been distributed among the crew to preserve it.

Le Vesconte's father, Commander Henry Le Vesconte, RN, came from Jersey. He married Sarah Wills from Marldon in Devon and his son Henry Thomas Dundas was born nearby at Netherton. He entered the Navy in 1829 and served as mate of HMS 'Calliope' during the First China War. Distinguishing himself in this conflict, he was promoted to Lieutenant in June 1841. He went on to serve in HMS 'Hyacinth' on the East India Station and then in 'Clio' as second in command to Fitzjames who recommended his appointment as Lieutenant in HMS 'Erebus'. He perished with the other members of Sir John Franklin's 1845 expedition. A skeleton found by Charles Hall near the Peffer River and believed to be that of Le Vesconte, was returned to England and reburied in the Painted Hall at Greenwich.

Object Details

ID: AAA2488
Collection: Polar Equipment and Relics
Type: Spoon
Display location: Not on display
Creator: John & Henry Lias
Events: Arctic Exploration: Franklin Search Expedition, McClintock, 1857-1859; Arctic Exploration: Franklin's Last Expedition, 1845-1848
Vessels: Erebus (1826); Fox (1855)
Date made: 1844
People: Le Vesconte, Thomas Henry Dundas
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
Measurements: Overall: 22 x 219 x 44 mm

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