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The Unlucky Lady

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  • The Unlucky Lady

    This past weekend was the 35th anniversary of the commissioning of HMCS ATHABASKAN (III)(DDG 282), a Canadian destroyer optimized for air-defence and with the C4ISR capabality to support an embarked staff. http://www.navy.forces.gc.ca/athabas...me/index_e.asp

    During the festivities we were honoured to have present 4 survivors of the orginal ATHABASKAN (G07), a Tribal Class destroyer of the Royal Canadian Navy who fought across the Atlantic and Mediteranean before being torpedoed and sunk in a night engagement in the Channel during the run up to Normandy. http://www.navalmuseum.ab.ca/Ships/Athabaskan.htm

    I have no references for the veracity of the stories told by these gentlemen, but thought folks here might enjoy some of the "Salty Dips" they shared:

    1. During a trip to Iceland where, apparently, RN and RCN ships were not particularly welcome, someone errected a swastika at the end of the jetty where ATHABASKAN was berthed. Crewmembers went ashore, tore down the symbol, doing damage to the structure it was mounted on in the process. When local police turned up looking for the vandals, the Commanding Officer refused to let them on the ship or to talk to the crew. Apparently the CO was reprimanded for this by higher authority and was even demoted. His crew, judging by how his men misted up when talking about him even today, loved him for this and many other events.

    2. The ship was hit by a radio guided glider-bomb, which went completely through the ship without detonating! But the CO realized that this was something completely new, and at great risk, stopped the ship and sent a crew out in boats to recover what they could. Apparently the recovered debris allowed the Allies to discover the secrets of the bombs guidance system and it's guidance frequency. Henceforth ships were able to jam the frequency and the glider-bomb proved relatively ineffective for the rest of the war.

    3. One of the survivors of ATHABASKAN's sinking was picked up by a German minesweeper. He was badly burned and shivering from cold and shock. He, and other survivors were brought to the ship's mess where they were given the German sailors own clean dry clothing to wear. He also chain smoked a pack of cigarettes given to him by a German sailor and when they were gone the German sat next to him and rolled him more. The CO of the ship came below to check on the condition of the survivors. On seeing the condition of the man I was speaking to, the CO ordered him taken to the warmest spot on the ship. This turned out to be a chair on the bridge next to the funnel, the captain's chair! He sat there the entire time while the ship returned to her home port.

    There were far to many stories and memories to recount here, from all three ATHABASKAN's, but needless to say an amazing weekend all around.

    We Fight As One!
    Last edited by Roadkiller; 30 Sep 07, 17:56.
    Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

  • #2
    Thanks for that, I served on AthaB from '85 to '87, certainly one of my fonder memories of my career in the CF.

    We Fight As One, Bob

    Eternal War(gaming) Armoured Struggle Car Bob

    History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis.
    Lazarus Long

    Draw the blinds on yesterday and it's all so much scarier....
    David Bowie

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    • #3
      Bob: I served on IROQUOIS's "NATO that wouldn't end" at that time (87-88 if my failing memory is close, so you may have missed it) when ATH went to Haiti on vacation instead of taking SNFL flag from IRO

      In the interest of completeness, here are the previous two ATHABASKANs:

      The first (Commissioned: 3-Feb-43 Lost 29 Apr 44. Sunk by a torpedo from German torpedo boat T24. Her captain and 128 men were lost, 83 taken prisoner and 44 men rescued by HMCS HAIDA.) :



      The second (Commissioned: 20-Jan-48 Paid Off: 21-Apr-66):

      Last edited by Roadkiller; 30 Sep 07, 18:12.
      Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

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      • #4
        Ya I just left AthaB when she did the Haiti gig, and I do remember hearing about your SNFL that would never end.

        Ready Aye Ready, Bob
        Eternal War(gaming) Armoured Struggle Car Bob

        History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis.
        Lazarus Long

        Draw the blinds on yesterday and it's all so much scarier....
        David Bowie

        Comment


        • #5
          Another "Salty Dip" ( http://www.readyayeready.com/cgi-bin...eak.pl?alpha=S ) :

          Apparently the RN hated the 'colonials', specifically the RCN. When entering port the ATHABASKAN was always last in the line, even though her CO was not the junior commanding officer.

          During one entrance the group was forced to wait while the lead ship (RN) made 3 botched approaches to the jetty. Impatient, ATHABASKAN peeled out of line, made a high speed approach and secured alongside. Needless to say this did not help relations with the 'senior service'.
          Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

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