Sir Michael Palin Unveils Plaque at Sir John Franklin Pub to Commemorate 175th Anniversary of Franklin Expedition’s Fateful Journey

British explorer and television personality, Sir Michael Palin, made a special visit to the Sir John Franklin pub in Greenhithe, Kent to unveil a plaque in honor of the 1845 Franklin Expedition. The expedition, led by Captain Sir John Franklin, set sail from this very spot on their ill-fated journey to explore the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic. The veteran presenter, known for his travel documentaries and his involvement in the Monty Python comedy group, spoke of the emotional significance of the location, where the sailors said their final goodbyes to their loved ones before embarking on their perilous journey.

In his book, Erebus, The Story of a Ship, Sir Michael delves into the mystery surrounding the lost expedition, which only gained attention in recent years when the two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, were discovered in 2014. The expedition has captured the public’s imagination due to the unexplained circumstances surrounding its disappearance. Sir Michael expressed his fascination with the story, stating that it is one that is not often taught in schools and is therefore not well-known.

The plaque, which was installed by local councilor Drew Swinerd in honor of the expedition’s 175th anniversary, serves as a permanent reminder of the historic event. Cllr Swinerd emphasized the importance of preserving and commemorating such historical events, stating that they provide meaning to a place and allow people to connect with their national history. The plaque also serves as a way to keep the memory of the Franklin Expedition alive and to continue the quest for answers surrounding its mysterious fate.

Sir Michael’s visit to the pub, which is named after the expedition’s leader, was a poignant reminder of the bravery and sacrifice of the sailors who embarked on the journey into the unknown. The unveiling of the plaque at the very spot where they set sail was a fitting tribute to their memory and their contribution to exploration.

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