After four decades of serving as a home away from home for sailors, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Algonquin was decommissioned this summer. After much demand from those that once served aboard the ship, an engraved coin commemorating the Algonquin is now available for purchase.
When the ship was decommissioned in June of this year, 283 bronze coloured coins were given out to the last crew of HMCS Algonquin, the remaining coins, 50 in total, were quickly and eagerly purchased. News of the decommissioning and coins soon spread and an outpour of requests for the coin soon followed.
The nationwide increased demand led Lt(N). Doug Totten, who once served on the Algonquin, to team up with SGS Marketing Ltd, the company who designed the coin, and Canex. An extra 100 coins are now available for sale.
On one side of the coin is an engraving of the ship. The back of the coin showcases Algonquin’s crest, a fist rising from high tides, clasping onto a trident. An eel is impaled on the trident. The eel represents a German submarine, a reference to the anti-submarine missions of the first Algonquin in the Second World War.
According to Totten, the demand for a memento from the ship proves the “unique rapport” the ship had with sailors.
“Everybody that served on them loved to serve on them. They were practically your home when you go away anywhere. When I served on her [HMCS Algonquin], she was nearing the end of her lifetime, and there was just amazing camaraderie on board,” said Totten.
With a 30 year career in the Navy, Totten says the Algonquin played a special role in his career as that was the time he was moving from a non-commissioned member to an officer.
“Each ship has its own special part of your experience when you’re in the Navy. My experience with Algonquin was it was where I first became an officer to learn how to train to become what I am now. For me it was challenging because of her age and it was a new platform for me so it was a challenge but it was also rewarding,” recalled Totten.
Totten believes that interest in the coins will rise again when the ship will leave the harbor for the last time for disposal next year.
HMCS Algonquin was commissioned in 1973 as one of four ships of the 280 class. Known as “sisters of the space age,” many of the ships from that class are no longer in service. HMCS Iroquois was decommissioned earlier this year and Canada’s last destroyer ship, HMCS Athabaskan, will be decommissioned soon.
To purchase one of the HMCS Algonquin coins visit the Canex website at www.canex.ca.