Accounts posted on this page are personal recollections of the sender
and may differ from
official Court Martial records
served in Ambuscade from October, 1982 to October, 1984.
I was a sub-lieutenant and officer of the watch, tall, skinny Canadian.
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
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. "