LONDON:- Britain will gift to Canada the two shipwrecks from explorer Sir John Franklin's storied Arctic expedition. The defense ministry said Monday that ownership of the ill-fated HMS Erebus and HMS Terror - in their era the crown jewels of the Royal Navy - would be formally transferred to Canada's parks service in the coming weeks.

But Britain will retain "a small sample of artefacts" recovered from the vessels, for display in museums, the ministry added in a statement. "This exceptional arrangement will recognise the historical significance of the Franklin expedition to the people of Canada, and will ensure that these wrecks and artefacts are conserved for future generations," Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said.