I received my promotion on the Algonquin. When we left Halifax for the NATO exercise in 1959, the screws made about two turns and seized up. We had to tie up again and were allowed to go home that Saturday morning.
That night we heard on the radio that we were to report to the ship in the morning. The steel cover was being put on the gear box and the canvas cover that had been protecting it was knocked into the box. There are something like 120 nuts and bolts on that cover. It was cleaned out and no damage was done. At first it was thought that it might have been done on purpose. A Commander was brought on the cruise to make a judgment. I taped all of the men who came in and answered the questions of the Commander. At first it sounded bad but then it was certain that it was an accident
We were a day behind the other three destroyers of the squadron. We caught up to them as we neared Newfoundland. The Algonquin had a problem at the time. At high speed it sometimes suddenly came to a starboard turn. The speed had to be lowered to get control of the rudder again. When we got up to the others I was on duty at the NBCD Control phone. We were told that we never left that spot while on duty. Suddenly, the only time I ever heard it, a pipe was made. The ship was veering to the right at the time. The pipe was, "This is not an exercise - all hands to abandon ship stations." I thought that since I was told never to leave that spot when on duty I stayed. Dumb, I know. Things quieted down and the ship came to a stop. I thought we were going to ram a ship and so turned to face the starboard side, and spread my legs and braced myself.
Nothing happened. My writers came back down the ladder just after they were freed from the abandon ship stations. One of them said to me, "Stay there until I open the office door." I did and he opened the door
and through the porthole I could see the bow of one of the destroyers, aiming right at me, just sitting there. I think that it was the Iroquois. We had swerved around and across her bow. I guess both ships went into full astern and they stopped very close to each other. And if we had been hit it would have been about fifteen feet, or less from
where I was standing.
But we did complete the NATO exercise.
Back To Stories Index