Who was Robert Sinclair?...

Last night, while reading about Sir John Franklin, I was very excited to find out that there was an Orcadian among the crew of H.M.S Erebus - one of two naval ships sent on a doomed voyage to the Arctic. I have read a great deal about John Franklin and the expedition, but it wasn't until I saw the allotment list that it really dawned on me that there was an abundance of people that sacrificed their lives in the name of Arctic exploration; some known worldwide and some forgotten entirely.

It is all too easy to shepherd the crew into a flock called the expedition with Franklin and Crozier at the forefront; however in reality, everybody has a story and deserves as much thought and credit as those leading the voyage.





Robert Sinclair was Captain of the Foretop aboard H.M.S Erebus.

As they voyage was expected to be away for a considerable length of time, the crew were given the option to send a portion of their wage sent back home to finance their families in their absence. According to the information kept from this system: Robert Sinclair was a twenty-five year old from Kirkwall and his position onboard the ship was Captain of the Foretop. He had signed up to the Allotment system in order to pay money to his mother Grace Sinclair, who also stayed in Kirkwall, while he was away in the Arctic.





You now know as much as I do about Robert Sinclair...



Everybody onboard the Erebus and Terror has a story that deserves to be told, but the individuality of the crew, their importance onboard the ship and that they suffered the same horrific end as everybody else had not really occurred to me until I saw the name of a man from the town that I stay in. I can't help but feel guilty about my lack of thought for each individual case of suffering that occurred during the Franklin Expedition.


When you begin to think about it, so many questions are raised: How did a man from Orkney end up in London onboard the Erebus? Was it the sense of adventure? Had he been on previous Arctic voyages? Perhaps he was a whaler? Did he stay with the voyage till the end? Perhaps he got off again in Orkney before they reached the Arctic? Did he ever write home? What happened to his mother? Did he have any other family? Are there any living relatives?...The list goes on and the mystery continues, but the big question is...



Who was Robert Sinclair?...





Resource: Sir John Franklin's Erebus and Terror Expedition: Lost and Foundby Gillian Hutchinson