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.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Why John Wilson Remembers.

An article for Remembrance Day in BC Booklook.

"Why John Wilson Remembers."

Saturday, November 01, 2014

some thoughts on Erebus

A couple of things from the Ryan Harris interview on CBC (see previous post) struck me recently.
The things that Ryan Harris said were:
1.   He had gone into the ship and brought one "artifact" out.
2.   The ship was identified as Erebus after they returned to Ottawa.
Maybe the Erebus was identified by the artifact. It could be something that, after it was cleaned, had Erebus on it or a possession of an officer from Erebus. In which case why not say what the artifact was? Probably because the artifact contains more information that is still being worked on.
Interestingly, Mansbridge didn't ask the obvious question: How do we know it's the Erebus? This also suggests that the artifact has more to tell us.
Finally, Ryan Harris suggested that paper might survive in the cold water.
So, the single artifact:
—was interesting enough to be the only thing removed from the wreck on the first few dives,
—it probably contained information that identified the ship as Erebus,
—it is still being worked on and is revealing more information that has yet to be made public,
—paper might survive on the wreck.
Leap of faith—was the artifact removed from the wreck a notebook, report of scientific findings, a journal or a diary?
Okay, it's speculation, but isn't speculation why we've all been so interested in the Franklin Expedition mystery for 170 years?
Maybe it's the Lost Journal of James Fitzjames!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Interview on the discovery of the Erebus

Fascinating interview with Ryan Harris, the Parks Canada underwater archaeologist who first dove on the Franklin wreck in September. The sense of excitement when they realized what the sonar was showing and on first diving to the ship is extraordinary.
The level of preservation is incredible and RH thinks even paper might survive in the cold water!
According to the Inuit stories, the other ship (Terror) was crushed by the ice, so resources would be better aimed at searching any nearby islands for buried records.
Read the true story HERE!

Friday, October 03, 2014

100 years of remembering for schools!

This November 11 marks a century since the outbreak of the First World War. I will be in Ontario the week of Remembrance Day and am offering presentations to school assemblies or individual classes on the war and remembering. I have three historical novels set in WWI (Shot at Dawn, And in the Morning and Wings of War, the last two published this year), and one non-fiction history of the war (Desperate Glory: The Story of WWI). For more information or to inquire about a visit, go to my website or drop me an email.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

It's the Erebus!

Now we know its HMS Erebus!
The John Franklin ship discovered in September is the Erebus—just as I said in North with Franklin: The Lost Journals of James Fitzjames and Graves of Ice. Okay, the Inuit said it first in the 1860s, but still…and I had my moment of fame on CTV.

So the Inuit testimony is accurate. Therefore, there's no point in searching for the Terror, it must be the ship that the Inuit said was crushed and driven ashore on King William Island.

Dive on the Erebus next summer and find all manner of wonderful things preserved in the cold water (the body of the tall man with long teeth?), but don't neglect all the small islands nearby. Might they be where the last crew members buried records and/or the bodies of their comrades before they set off east to an unknown end. Inuit testimony again—two or three men set off east from the Erebus (trapped in one year ice) in the spring (1849 or 1850?).

A final rant—why are these announcements left to politicians (Harper during question time!), instead of scientists who know something and could possibly say how they determined it was Erebus? I know the answer, it just depresses me.

In case you missed it the first time, here's my moment of fame on CTV, looking intelligent yet approachable. Was the phone call to let me know I'd been selected for a free cruise to the Bahamas?


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

7Sequels—the story continues.


October 1st sees the official release of the 7Sequels, continuing the adventures of the seven grandsons from the 7Series. In Broken Arrow, Steve is with Laia in Barcelona for Christmas and gets involved in a mystery involving a lost bomb, a nuclear accident in 1966, the Russian Mafia, sabotage, and the disturbing possibility that his beloved grandfather might have been a spy. Don't worry, though, it all works out in the end!
In a couple of weeks, all seven authors will be embarking on a tour of southern Ontario to support the new books.

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.