John Wilson

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Location: Lantzville, BC, Canada

A lifelong passion for history and a fascination with the past—WWI in particular—have led to over 40 historical novels and non-fiction books for kids, teens and adults.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Has anyone got a precise location on where the Franklin ship has been found? 

A map I saw suggested nw of King William Island where they were beset. I thought this was unlikely because of the Inuit testimony that suggested a largely undamaged ship in one year ice off the Adelaide Peninsula south of KWI. (Gilder said a man called Ikinnelikpatolok claimed “The next white man he saw was dead in a bunk of a big ship which was frozen near an island about five miles due west of Grant Point, on Adelaide Peninsula. They {the Inuit} had to walk about three miles on smooth ice to reach the ship…About this time he saw the tracks of white men on the mainland. When he first saw them there were four and afterward only three. This was when the spring snows were falling…When his people saw the ship so long without anyone around they used to go on board and steal pieces of wood and iron. They did not know how to get inside by the doors and cut a hole in the side of the ship, on a level with the ice, so that when the ice broke-up during the following summer the ship filled and sunk.”)
This article suggest that the ship was indeed found off Adelaide Peninsula

Other interesting thing is the mention of spring snow—that has to place the ship being abandoned there in early 1849 or later!

Of course, I must admit a bias because the Adelaide Peninsula scenario is what I've used in several books—North with Franklin: The Lost Journals of James Fitzjames and Graves of Ice.

A John Franklin Journal

With John Franklin hitting the headlines, sales of the eBook, North with Franklin: The Lost Journals of James Fitzjames are on the increase (#12 on's Polar Books). If you missed it the first time around, it's a recreation of Fitzjames' journal based on, and including quotes from, the journal he sent back from Greenland before the expedition disappeared.
Read more about it on my website.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Looks as if the canvas from the winter covering is still on.
Okay, I went up Helvellyn today, along Striding Edge, awesome, but doesn't even come close to the news that ONE OF JOHN FRANKLIN'S SHIPS HAS BEEN FOUND!!! (Sorry for shouting and the multiple exclamation marks). The ship looks incredibly complete on the sonar images—which ship is it (I've got ten buck on Erebus)—what's inside—documents, human remains, photographs??? Probably not, but the water's cold and preserves a lot in a complete wreck like this.
Of course, you all still have the chance to read the real story before the truth messes things up in Graves of Ice.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Follow my travels on Facebook

Ammonites in Lyme Regis museum.
I'm currently working my way along the south coast of England and adding interesting pieces of information and a few photographs more-or-less every day on Facebook. There's a bit of everything from Iron Age forts, Roman remains, Medieval Cathedrals, Castles and sheep! Drop by and see how things are going.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Why we should support indie bookstores.

From The Washington Post:

A reader named Maureen Feinroth sends in this anecdote about her book-shopping experience at a Barnes & Noble in the Washington area:
Me: Hi, I am looking for the new biography of Beethoven. I don’t see it on the shelf.
Salesperson: I can look it up for you. [Typing "b-a-y . . ."]
Me: No, it’s Beethoven: “b-e-e . . .”
Salesperson: Oh “Beethoven.” I LOVED that movie!!! Wait. The dog wrote a book?

On a related note, in Chapters, I once found my biography of Norman Bethune in the medical section beside the Atkins Diet!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

New Blog

Five of my books, four novels (And in the Morning, Shot at Dawn, Red Goodwin, Wings of War), and one non-fiction (Desperate Glory: The Story of WWI) are set during the First World War. To mark the 100th anniversary of the war, I have created a new Blog, in which I will upload short extracts from these books (which ever seems appropriate), over the next while.

To begin, here's a short extract from Chapter One of the recently published Wings of War.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dark clouds forming

I'm not a great believer in decisive battles or moments that changed history, it's all much too complex for that, nevertheless, like saying "What if?", it's fun to spot them.

Everyone points to Princip's shots in Sarajevo as being the trigger to WWI, but things weren't inevitable from that point on. A stronger argument can probably be made for what a couple of stupid self-centered old men did 100 years ago tomorrow as being a more significant point.

Monday, July 14, 2014


As you can see from the title, I have stopped delaying and learned how to spell procrastination. Consequently, several months later than originally planned, I have upgraded and updated my website. Drop by and be awed by the bright pictures and fancy links.