Wednesday 22 July 2015


Several months ago I mentioned on my blog that I was working on several side projects related to HMS Terror. Today, Canada Post unveiled a series of new stamps commemorating the Franklin Expedition and the 2014 discovery of HMS Erebus. The stamps include a permanent se-tenant issue and an international-rate stamp, and I was fortunate enough to have been asked to contribute an historically accurate plan to their design of the international stamp. I also provided comments and feedback on the ship depicted in the se-tenant stamp.   

The international-rate stamp showing the sonar image combined with
the upper deck plans. Image courtesy of Canada Post, used with permission. 

The international-rate stamp combines a modern sonar image with an upper deck plan of HMS Erebus that I created. The complete upper deck plan is featured on an uncut press sheet and I also produced a cross-section of Erebus that will be included in packaging materials. The deck plan shows HMS Erebus in her 1845 configuration, which no contemporary plan depicts. This new plan is based on ones I created for HMS Terror, which I carefully modified to accurately match the dimensions, fittings, and features of HMS Erebus.

The permanent se-tenant showing Erebus trapped in ice. Image
courtesy of Canada Post, used with permission. 

When I started creating plans of Franklin’s ships, I never expected that they would be seen by anyone but hobbyists and Franklin enthusiasts. I couldn’t have guessed that they might be used in a project such as this – especially juxtaposed with a real image of HMS Erebus. I was shocked at how accurately the plans matched the sonar image, which exposes much about the technology used on the search and the accuracy of the historical source materials relating to Erebus.

It was a thrill to work with the talented designers and professionals from Canada Post, and I’m very pleased with the result. These stamps are a must-have for collectors interested in the Franklin mystery and the discovery of HMS Erebus.