Secret Arctic Mission

21 Nov
1772 Vaugondy - Diderot Map of Alaska, the Pac...

1772 Vaugondy – Diderot Map of Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and the Northwest Passage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On November 21, 1954, the H.M.C.S. Labrador completed an 18,000 mile trip around the continent via the Northwest Passage and the Panama Canal.

Patrick Duffy at the Ottawa Citizen wrote an article in November 2008 about the voyage. I found a reprint of it on the Forums.

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Labrador was commanded by Captain “Long Robbie” Robertson, and it’s hydrographer was Lieut. Thomas Irvine, the 30 years old. It was Irvine’s job to map uncharted waters and plan a safe route.

This mission was authorized by Naval commanders because they feared that the United States were poised to send one of their Beaufort Sea Icebreakers through the Northwest Passage. That would have been a blow to Canada’s sovereignty claims over the arctic. The mission was kept secret, however, because Canadian officials were afraid of the consequences were the Labrador to fail.

When it succeeded,the accomplishment was made known to the world. Reporters met the ship when it docked in Esquimalt, British Columbia.

To learn more about the Labrador visit Wikipedia‘s page. To read newspaper articles of the voyage, you can find them here.


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