In 1984, the body of John Torrington was exhumed and attracted worldwide attention. Hartnell and Braine’s bodies were later exhumed on a PBS Nova Documentary titled ‘Buried in Ice.’
The bodies of the three men were in fine condition; each of them had toenails and eyebrows intact. They were found under 6 feet of frozen permafrost. Out of the three men found, Braine's condition was the worst. The researchers believed that Braine's body was left on board HMS Erebus for quite a while before it was buried. It appeared to have been gnawed by rats. One of his arms seemed to be missing but was later found positioned underneath his corpse.
The bodies of the men were studied extensively and it was revealed that all three showed high levels of lead in their system. At first it was believed that the lead came from the tin cans of food but scientists now believe that the lead came from the water filtration system on the ship. This has not being proven yet as the ships have yet to intensely studied after the rediscovery of The HMS Erebus in 2014, where Braine was stationed but this is the most likely theory.
Studies have shown that these three men were actually the lucky ones, postmortem investigations showed that they died from tuberculosis which is much better than dying of lead poisoning like many other crew members did.