Unidentified Wiki

John Gregory (c. 1801-1804 - c. May 1848) was a 19th century engineer who perished in John Franklin's voyage to explore the Arctic. He was known as Cranium 80 while unidentified.


Gregory was a professional engineer onboard HMS Erebus, one of the two ships used for Sir John Franklin's expedition to map the last unnavigated part of the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic. He worked for the company ''Maudslay, Sons and Field'', based in the London borough of Lambeth. His ship, along with HMS Terror, departed England on May 19, 1845. Gregory's last contact with his family is a letter to his wife Hannah and their five children sent from Greenland on July 9, 1845. The letter stated: “Give my kind Love to Edward, Fanny, James, William, and kiss baby for me — and accept the same yourself.”

The expedition became icebound in Victoria Strait near King William Island in 1846. Sir John Franklin and several other crew members died by April 1848. Survivors attempted to reach Canada. Gregory’s remains, along with those of two other men, were found on the southwest shore of King William Island in 1859, about 50 miles south of the site where the ships became stuck. Their deaths are estimated to have occurred within a month of leaving the ship.

Gregory's remains were rediscovered in 1993 and he was identified in 2021 after DNA extracted from his teeth and bones was matched to his great-great-great grandson Jonathan Gregory of Port Elizabeth, South Africa.