Dessert spoon

Relic of Sir John Franklin's last expedition 1845-8. Silver dessert spoon owned by Lieutenant E. Couch ('HMS Erebus'). Found in an abandoned boat at Erebus Bay, King William Island, in May 1859 by the McClintock Search Expedition 1857-9. The front of the handle is engraved with Couch's crest of a lion couchant and a gothic capital 'C'. The hallmarks are possibly London 1815. It was found in an abandoned boat at Erebus Bay, King William Island, in May 1859 by the McClintock Search Expedition 1857-9.
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.

Edward Couch’s father James Couch was a lieutenant in HMS ‘Conqueror ‘at Trafalgar and for nine years from 1821, commanded the receiving ship ‘Perseus’, stationed off the Tower. It seems likely therefore, that Edward was born in London although Couch is a Cornish or West Country surname. Edward was appointed as Mate of HMS ‘Erebus’ in 1845 and was promoted to Lieutenant after the ship sailed. Commander Fitzjames described him as a ‘little, black-haired, smooth-faced fellow-good humoured in his own way; writes, reads, works, draws, all quietly. Is never in the way of anybody, and always ready when wanted’. Edward Couch perished with the other members of Sir John Franklin’s North West Passage expedition. His father died in 1850 before his son's death was confirmed.

Object Details

ID: AAA2491
Collection: Polar Equipment and Relics
Type: Dessert spoon
Display location: Not on display
Creator: J H
Events: Arctic Exploration: Franklin's Last Expedition, 1845-1848; Arctic Exploration: Franklin Search Expedition, McClintock, 1857-1859
Vessels: Erebus (1826); Fox (1855)
Date made: 1815 ?
People: Couch, Edward
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.
Measurements: Overall: 15 x 180 x 38 mm

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