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S/Lt Wooley tells his dit for the first time !     1983 photo © S Griffin

Allongside in Bombay (now Mumbai) 1983 photo © S Griffin

Accounts posted on this page are personal recollections of the sender and may differ from
official Court Martial records

I served in Ambuscade from October, 1982 to October, 1984.
I was a sub-lieutenant and officer of the watch, tall, skinny Canadian.

"I was off-watch from Officer of the Watch duties that morning, and had decided to go to the foc'sle and take some photos of the manoeuvres involving ourselves and the USN ships.

One thing that sticks in my memory is that through some peculiarities in the weather, sound seemed to be travelling extraordinary distances -- I could hear U.S. sailors chatting and yelling on another ship a couple of cables away.

As the manoeuvre with the Dale went awry, I snapped one photo of ourselves closing in at a certain collision angle -- I still have that picture. I remember thinking that there was probably no way to avoid hitting at that point. I ran back into the ship, threw my camera into my cabin and went to the hatchway to get down below to where I thought we would likely hit.

I recall the Navigator, Alan Maunder, piping emergency stations. As I looked forward a last time we hit, there was an enormous sound of steel on steel, the ship heeled. Immediately matelots were pouring up the ladder I was trying to go down -- I think I had recently been made junior damage control officer, so felt I had some responsibility to see what could be done forward. I think I was one of the first to the actual scene. A few of the lads from the forward damage control team were with me.

As we passed through each doorway I remember thinking ''This isn't so bad, no damage here'', until finally the last door and the last bulkhead, which I opened and prepared to go through, but as I undid the clip I looked down, not at the deck where it should have been or what I had been expecting, but instead the blue-green waters of the Arabian Sea.

A couple of memories afterward: the thousands of cans of beer floating in the sea, coveted especially by the American dry-ship sailors who offered to help, perhaps for ulterior motives! Also, the work of a dozen or so seamen and stokers, including AB Don Cox.

Finally, when those sailors wanted to go aft for a meal after a couple of hours of grimy work clearing debris and shoring bulkheads, they were ordered to wash up and get into the rig of the day by the PO in charge of the junior rates dining hall. "

Alexander Wooley