I had the privilege of serving in Algonquin in 1967 during her last trip -- from Halifax to Esquimalt -- and still have my canal transit certificate framed and hung with pride on my office wall here at home. The people I remember are LCdr Larry Dzioba, the captain; LCdr Smallwood, XO; SLt Price, DeckO; P1BN "Lump" O'Donnell, CBM, and LSBN Bill Big Canoe, the killick of my watch.
I was a young reserve BN and can well remember the nor'easter we ran into off Boston for two or three days in February. I was on watch in the open bridge and got drenched when a sea whumped against the portside, causing the ship to slide and roll alarmingly to starboard. Some hull plates aft on the port side of 10 mess (where I lived) flexed during the storm and we had several inches of cold seawater sloshing around the deck and bootlockers every day until we entered Norfolk, Va., for repairs. Next port was Fort Lauderdale where HMCS Crescent's radio room fire caused a bit of pandemonium during the day of the funeral of George Vanier in early March, 1967.
En route to the Canal, our evaporator broke down mysteriously and during a week of birdbaths, we had to receive 10 tons of freshwater every day (at 1600) from HMCS Columbia. (An investigation later showed some miscreant had reversed an impeller in the vap's plumbing, causing freshwater to be propelled overside!) It was very hot in the Caribbean and every couple of days the ship would stop and "hands to bathe" was piped. It was like jumping into a warm, 10,000-ft.-deep bathtub from the low quarterdeck. The whaler was lowered and a crew embarked complete with rife rifle as a (dubious) shark protection measure. The trip through the Canal was uneventful, although very hot, andwe had a pleasant stopover at Panama City. Up to Manzanillo, Mexico, for fuel, in company w/ Mackenzie, Antigonish and Yukon, and onwards to a gunnery shoot ( think we banged off two rounds of 3-in. 50-cal. before something malfunctioned), followed by a four day call at San Francisco in early April.
We berthed at Treasure Island and most of us made the very best of our shore leave in that wonderful city. I even got to Haight-Ashbury to have a look at the Flower Power plant firsthand. Leaving 'Frisco, we arrived at Esquimalt a few days later and the three Halifax ships -- Algonquin, Crescent and Columbia -- raced into harbor with part-ship hands fallen in. I was AX party and was thrilled, as a 22-year-old would be, at the powerful vibrations of the deck plates and the impressive, speedboat-like wake as that grand old lady cranked on 31 knots into Squiggly. If memory serves, Algonquin was the fastest of the three, beating out the newer Mackenzie and Columbia. The West Coast crew remained and the East Coasters were drafted back to Slackers. I was posted to CFB Cornwallis and the Centennial activities for several months before returning home to Ottawa and college.
I completed 30 years of regular and reserve service on Sept. 23, 2001, as a Lieutenant(N) in the Cadet Instructors Cadre. I was XO of 339 RCSCC Iroquois, Shearwater, NS, for about two years but my fondest naval memories are as a young boatswain in the lower decks of such famous ships as Algonquin and Swansea -- the likes of which we shall never see again. Algonquin, sadly, was paid off in 1970 and I have pasted to the back of my ship's portrait a clipping from Maritime Command (Pacific)'s Lookout, dated Thursday, May 13, 1971, entitled "Sayonara, Algonquin, Crescent." The clipping's photo shows the two DDEs being towed to a shipbreaking yard in Kaohsiung, Formosa. The last paragraph in the article says "Now they are gone, and for those of us, who served on these forerunners of the 205 Class, in then unknown luxury, think it is a pitiful way for such ships to go." Too true.