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Mission: Northwest Passage

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Volumes have been written about the Second World War--yet one great mission of WW II has remained secret for over half a century. Carried out far from the battlefields but facing the harsh Canadian Arctic winter as its enemy, a Canadian schooner and its small dedicated crew accomplished an important military mission while the war raged on, an ocean away.

It is 1940. War breaks out in Europe. The Allies are ill-prepared and anxiety grows. Particular concern focuses on the North Atlantic where German U-boats and destroyers are taking a fearful toll. It is agreed that an Allied force must be dispatched to Greenland, a vital strategic island in the North Atlantic. A small RCMP schooner, the St. Roch, is given secret order to sail from Vancouver to Greenland through the treacherous Northwest Passage. Its captain, Sargeant Henry Larsen, is among the world's most accomplished polar navigators, and believes he can make it through in 90 days. But soon he faces the worst ice conditions in 50 years, and is trapped in a life-and-death adventure that will last 27 months, costing the life of a loved and respected crew member.

Mission: Northwest Passage interweaves never-before-released film footage taken on the original mission, the remarkable eyewitness testimony of the two surviving crew members, dramatic re-enactment of highlights frome the voyage, and stunning High Arctic footage shot especially for the program.

Retrace the original voyage, relive its tension and drama, and uncover the full story of this mission which has waited 50 years to be told.

1993, 50 min