Early in 1966 I was a young sublieutenant in the Canadian navy serving aboard HMCS Saguenay. We were on a training cruise and showing the flag in the Caribbean and west coast of South America, with visits scheduled for various exotic ports. Along with us were our aircraft carrier, Bonaventure, other ships of our destroyer squadron, frigates from the Pacific fleet that had transited the Panama Canal, a British A-boat, and HMCS Grilse, our Pacific-based ex-USN Balao-class boat.
I was summoned to the captain’s cabin. He said, “Do you want to serve in submarines?”
I must have looked puzzled, because, contrary to many of my cohorts, I had never volunteered for submarine training. The submarine option was appealing to many, and in fact many of the outstanding members of my vintage of junior officers. My heritage, though, and that of the Canadian navy, was anti- not pro- submarine.
(More on the Accidental Submariner in future posts)