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Submarine HMCS Onondaga


Sous-marin NCSM Onondaga





January to March 1969 - HMCS ONONDAGA, accompanied by HMCS OKANAGAN, went south for the annual Maple Spring exercise with the Canadian Warships. Many ports were visited including San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Croix in the Virgin Islands.


22 March 1969 - HMCS ONONDAGA arrived back in Halifax


23 March to 4 April 1969 - HMCS ONONDAGA was tied up alongside Halifax


5 April to 29 April 1969 - HMCS ONONDAGA was operating at sea near Halifax


29 April 1969 - I was promoted to the rank of Leading Seaman ( Corporal )  




30 April to 15 May 1969 - HMCS ONONDAGA was operating at sea near Halifax.


15 May 1969 - HMCS ONONDAGA departed Halifax.


24 May 1969 - HMCS ONONDAGA in St. Georges, Bermuda.


30 May 1969 - HMCS ONONDAGA on the surface - Swim & firing competition using garbage bags. 23 films onboard.


31 May 1969 - HMCS ONONDAGA in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for 3 days.


3 June to 14 June 1969 - HMCS ONONDAGA participated in NATO's Exercise SPARK PLUG off Bermuda and Florida. Participants included American, British, Dutch and Portuguese ships and submarines. The purpose of the exercise was to demonstrate how fleet submarines working with surface ships can protect a convoy.


This scene in the movie Das Boot reminds me of a dark night in 1969 onboard ONONDAGA, somewhere in the Atlantic north of Bermuda. We were under "Radio Sllence" so ONONDAGA had to surface in rough sea to communicate with a British submarine using the Aldis lamp. I spent over two hours on the bridge sending and receiving morse code by light while being drenched by massive waves. I had been feeling sick during the past weekend spent in St. Georges, Bermuda and these two hours spent on the bridge in the middle of a storm made me feel even worse. By the next morning, I was delirious and my fever had skyrocketed. We were now facing a hurricane and the submarine went deep to escape the weather. I didn't know at the time but my situation had developed into a pneumonia. I could not be evacuated due to the weather. I don't remember what happened to me over the next two days. I was delirious and continuously being washed down to control my temperature. I finally came around and spent the rest of the trip recovering in my bunk. Hospital tests later revealed that I had suffered a pneumonia. I was told that, while delirious, I had said some "nasty things" to the XO (Executive Officer), so I went to apologize to him, just in case....


18 June 1969 - HMCS ONONDAGA returned to Halifax.


1 July to 27 July 1969 - HMCS ONONDAGA operating at sea near Halifax.


28 & 29 July 1969 - Guest cruise for family and friends onboard HMCS ONONDAGA.


1 August to 4 August 1969 - HMCS ONONDAGA alongside Halifax. Generator problems.


8 August 1969 - Visit of Prime Minister Pierre E. Trudeau.


While in Halifax for the 1969 Canada Summer Games, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau took some time off to visit the First Canadian Submarine Squadron and to take a short cruise onboard submarine HMCS OKANAGAN.


Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau onboard submarine HMCS OKANAGAN. The officer next to him is the Commanding Officer LCDR Nigel Frawley



24 September 1969 - Completion of the Submariner Qualification Program which included familiarization with all operating systems onboard a submarine, such as: tanks, sea water systems, air systems, hydraulic systems, fuel oil systems, induction and exhaust systems, operations equipment such as sonar, radar and radio systems, electrical systems, weapons and torpedo systems, escape systems, diesel engines, propellers and shafting, sewage ejection systems and garbage ejection systems.


I was finally a "Qualified Submariner" which meant that I was entitled to wear the dolphin on the left arm of my uniform. 




21 October to 11 November 1969 - HMCS ONONDAGA joined HMCS OKANAGAN to participate in excercise MARLANTEX/NORLANT.



Late November 1969 - HMCS ONONDAGA tied up in Halifax with generator problems.