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HMCS Antigonish in North Pacific, Nov.1962
Ships and Harbours
No: 1493   Contributor: Ken Watson   Year: 1962   Manufacturer: Yarrows, Esquimalt, Canada   Country: Canada
HMCS Antigonish in North Pacific, Nov.1962

HMCS Antigonish K661/FFE301 shown approaching HMCS CapeBreton off the West Coast of Vancouver Island during the 'Cuban Missile Crisis' November 1962. Antigonish built at Canadian Yarrows, Esquimalt, B.C. 1944 as River Class frigate, paid offMay 1946. Recommissioned Oct 1951 and finally paid off Nov.1966. Armament 2-4inch;4-40mm guns, 2 Squid ATW.Machinery: Two shaft,4 cylinder,V.T.E. reciprocating steam IHP 5,500;speed 20 knots. Crew 140.See picture #1487 for additional details.
Picture added on 23 March 2007
add commentComments:
I've noticed that this warship has an uncovered bridge. Can anyone tell when 'Covered' wheelhouses became the norm on naval vessels?

Added by David Forbes on 06 October 2007.
Hello David: Some still had a conning position above the covered bridge in new constructions 1950s on but believe these even disappeared late 60's at least in most RCN, RN designs. Open bridges were common on WW2 ships respecting aircraft warning radars (Mark 1 Eyeball) as sophistication and reliability increased this became redundant. Cheers, Ken

Added by Ken Watson on 07 October 2007.
This was my first ship and I was in the commissioning crew after her conversion to prestonion class. 1957 I was an oslms and still have my commissioning card and the first big cruise was to fiji where we met up with hmcs ontario. The first lieutenant still lives here in victoria. It was a great ship and a happy one.

Added by ROD FINLEYrorofin on 25 November 2008.
Hello shipmates:
I to sailed on the HMCS Antigoish, I was born in North Vancouver, BC on July 20, 1943, enlisted in the RCN and received my Ordinary Seaman’s training at HMVS Cornwallis NS, Gatineau 3-60. I served on this ship, a Prestonion class frigate as an ABEM1 Stoker from February 13, 1961 until August 2, 1963. I was honourably discharged October 1, 1963 from HMCS Naden. I served on this ship at sea for a duration of 32 days during the month of October/November 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the most dangerous and frightening clash of the Cold War between the United States and the USSR. This crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear war after U.S. spy planes detected Soviet nuclear missiles on Cuba. On October 16, 1962 President John F. Kennedy demanded removal of the weapons. The U.S. then blockaded Soviet ships headed for Cuba and the Canadian Navy was deployed patrolling the west coast of Canada and the northern United States. I was on board the Antigonish when this picture was taken possibly from the someone on board the HMCS Provider just prior to our re-fueling at sea as the Antigoish appears to be floating high in the water. I am now retired and lives in Vancouver with my wife Marlise.

Added by Ken Chamberlin on 06 February 2009.
This was my first ship and I would have been aboard when this photo was taken. Since I had never been to sea before, the recollection of being in a very rough water (remnants of typhoon Freda) at the time of the recall of all RCN ships back to port due to the Cuban Missile crisis remains quite clear in my mind. I have fond memories of many of my shipmates and enjoyed my time aboard the Antigonish. I went on to serve aboard the Ottawa, Quappelle Saskatchewan and a brief stint in Aldergrove.

Added by Bob Galloway on 12 June 2009.
Hi Bob: Glad to see the photo brought back memories for you. Cheers,Ken

Added by Ken Watson on 12 June 2009.
As a Communicator from the CS branch I served aboard Antigonish in 1957 and 1958. She was my one and only experience at sea and in retrospect, the highlight of my short Naval career. In my short time aboard we travelled up and down the coast from Kodiak Alaska to San Diego with several forays to ports in between. We made numerous trips tp Pearl harbour as well as visits to the big Island (Hawaii) and Maui. Our longest cruise was to Pearl, Fiji, Samoa and back home via Pearl. We also enjoyed great success while participating in a joint exercise with American
surface and submarine vessels in Alaskan waters.

A great crew in a great ship!

Added by Charles (Charlie) Lesperance on 14 August 2009.
I sailed in Antigonish as a 2nd year UNTD officer cadet in our 25 member Kootenay division during the summwr of 1966. We sailed for 3 weeks in the inside passage and later in the summer went to San Francisco. During the trip back we faced a rather serious storm which the ship weathered like a true veteran. This was the 2nd to last trip as Antigonish was paid off following a cruise to Alaska in August. It was a terrific training ship and we were all sad that the frigate era ended in 1966. Approximately 10 of us on that cruise still keep in touch today and trade memories.

Added by David Tildesley on 30 September 2009.
I was an ABBN1 on the "Swish" during the Cuban crisis. I remember being anchored in Mayne Bay for several days. Several of us junior hands were drinking our daily beer on the quarterdeck and someone asked the PO2 Gunner if we were safe where we were. His reply: "Son, the safest place in the world if the Russkies start launching nukes would be onboard a Canadian Navy Frigate. Nobody would give a damn where we are!"

Added by Rud Kendall, Langley BC on 06 December 2009.
Any one with WWII Info on this Ship?
My Grandfather served on her, and I am trying to find more Info for my family and his Memory.

Added by Rick DeWitt on 08 July 2010.
I recently purchased an old Readers Digest book from January 1938, and found inside a small folded C.N.S. 247A item
Surname Keeler V 40525 Rating - A.B. G or T -T. HMCS Antigonish
Part - White, Part of Ship FXLE Mess 6
Any information you could offer to me would be much appreciated. I am in my 50's now, and sure want to thank everyone who served !!

Added by John Moore on 09 September 2010.
Hello John: Well Mr Keeler was an able seaman probably Volunteer Reverve (R.C.N.) Service No V 40525 G or T means Grog or Temperence, looks like Temperence "a rarity one would think" Ship HMCS Antigonish, Canadian River Class frigate Port Watch, Work Space (Focsle) ie: his 'Part Ship" and alloted 6 Mess. Hope this helps. Cheers, Ken Watson.

Added by Ken Watson on 09 September 2010.
hi Ken. Well thanks so much!!! And yes, the temperance would be somewhat rare I would imagine eh?

Take care

Added by John Moore on 09 September 2010.
Sailed in her twice. 1958 after being in Cedarwood for the B.C centennial when she was converted to S.S Commodore. Left her in 1961 to go on course. Again in 1965 before going aboard MacKenzie. I did move around. Can't seem to pull up Assiniboine as I was in her for a year as well.

Added by Archie w, Henderson on 10 September 2010.
She was my first ship . Came aboard 1965, did refit in north Van and went as far south as Buenos Aires . Fine ship and crew . I was a WU .

Added by Bill McCasky on 10 November 2010.
I was absn [sonar] they took out top secret orders from safe in sonar room after leaving harbour during cuba crisis, collected all personal am raidos, the skipper said to get white uniforms ready. the engine description I believe was wrong she had 2 triple expansion engines and on a good day could get about 190-240 rpm. sonar search speed did not exceed 12 knots due to cavatation past the retractable sonar dome.

Added by Mike White On Board 61-63 on 23 January 2011.
Hi Archie Nice to see your still around. I came aboard at refit in North Van as a ABLM 2. Served on her until decommissioned in Nov 1966. Then went to the Mackenzie.
I remember that the water was so bad on our South American trip that beer was drunk instead of water. When we did a mail transfer the diver managed to snag a Olands beer from the east coast ship.

Added by Kenneth G. Williams on 27 December 2012.
First ship in 1958 . Was OSQM did trip to Peru and Chili then to Fiji and Samoa then transferred to Chaudiere on the East Coast , Then VS880 as ABNA2 in Trackers at Shearwater and the Bonnie.

Added by Chris Milton on 31 December 2015.
My First ship and I re-commission her as a Prestonion class, I still wear a crest on my jacket of Antigonish that all the engineering branch got at that time. We all purchased our jackets they were Black with gold trim and piping up the sleeves. I long wore out the jacket but saved the crest and still wear it today on a new jacket. Many have asked me where I got it as there were only about 50 at the most out there, and the collectors wanted it-----No Way

Added by LSET3 RA Finley on 07 January 2016.
HMCS Antigonish was re-commissioned in late 1957 and I was in the re-commissioning crew. It was my first ship and have documents to prove it.

Added by LSET3 RA Finley on 07 January 2016.
I joined the Antigonish in North Van in 1965 as an OD steward . No body wanted to be the old mans steward , so I got the job .It was a neat job as he was the first person to get sea sick , And all the crew hoped for bad weather! We had a great crew , on a great ship. Yes the beer can that was passed from hand to hand at sea was put on a plaque and hung in the captain's cabin. The captain would send me ashore to buy him brie cheese , every time he made me mad I would eat a little of his cheese!I wanted to get out of being the captain's steward , but no one would take my job. So you old salts would know the only way to get out of a food preparing job was to become "unclean " and this was not hard to do going to South America . It was 2 weeks before my 21 birthday, so I gave most of my rum away for the time up to my birthday, with the hopes of getting back on my birthday! Only to hit the head early in the morning with the Doc beside me .Me in a little pain ! Doc said Gibby come with me, you need a shot ! No , Doc , I said this is my birthday And I have all this rum coming in today !A group of the officers in the wardroom called me to the pantry window and sang to me " Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, you got a greenie on your wieniee , happy birthday to you!I got to work on the upper deck for 3 days! Sorry to hear that Bill McCasky passed away in December .I have been happy to have been living in Sooke since 1983 . !

Added by Bud [William ] Gibbons on 19 January 2016.
Was Lt Cdr Donald CO then?

Added by David Tildesley on 19 January 2016.
Yes, David It was Lt. Cdr Donald Who was the captain . When the Antigonish was retired Lt. Cdr.Donald was promoted to Commander and took over command of the HMCS St Croix and invited me along to continue to be his steward !He must have liked me or maybe no one else would work for him !By May of 1968 I had had enough and got out. Good that now we only remember the good times.

Added by Bud [William ] Gibbons on 19 January 2016.
We were probably on same cruise to San Fran summer of 66
Donald had just been promoted. I have a vivid memory of sailing under Golden Gate. Bridge, he looked spectacular on the bridge with his new brass hat shining in the sun .
Gave me a sense of pride
Several years later I met Cdr Donald at HMCS Carleton our naval division . By then he worked at CFHQ
I was amazed that he remembered me
We were only on ship 6 weeks in summer 66
I remember he was a good coach when we did coming alongside andOOW drills. I remember he told us that manoeuvring a ship was not driving a car.
Two things he hated were cadets showing up on bridge with un shined boots and funnel belching smoke.

Added by David Tildesley on 20 January 2016.
One more thing he did not like , After shave, one morning on the bridge while bring him a cup of coffee . He sniffed and said " Gibbons that smells to sweet ! Don't where it again ! " the boys on the bridge just rolled their eyes .

Added by Bud [William ] Gibbons on 20 January 2016.
An amusing incident occurred when we docked at Treasure Island in San Fran. I was cadet of the day and was told to let the Captain who was then in the wardroom know when his driver arrived. Soon a man in a grey battle dress suit asked me to summon the captain. I went with him to the wardroom and knocked and announced "Sir your driver is here" as I turned I saw "US Dept of Agriculture" shoulder flashes on his suit. I apologized as he announced he was there to inspect our vegetables . Pavlovian dog theory worked.

Added by David Tildesley on 25 January 2016.
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