T H E F L O O D I N
O F 3 R M E S S D E C K
The normal high standard of tidiness and hygiene of 3R mess was badly disrupted by the inconsiderate Argentine Air Force on the 21st May 1982.
The day started off as normal, with cooks ditching half a ton of beer tins and making sure that the mess was secured for action. The ship went to Action Stations with 3R mess members closing up. Next came the air attack, strafing the port quarter with cannon fire, puncturing the shell of the ship's side very close to the waterline in the area of 3R mess. The rest of the day the ship's had to manoeuvre violently, resulting in large amounts of water seeping through the cannon holes into the mess.
Even after the after Section Base had made action damage repairs, the water continued to seep in because the only soft wood wedges available were square ones which were not adequate to do the job in the round hole!. This sorry state of affairs continued throughout the day.
At last "NBCD state 2 condition Yankee". The weary 3R mess members trudged down to the mess for a much needed rest, only to be confronted with 6 inches of water.
So began the hard task of making the mess livable in again. The carpets were ruined and had to be taken out and discarded. The water was then mopped up but still kept appearing throughout the night - but from where? The next day no matter what we did to mop up the water it continued to re-appear, but not from the holes which were the initial cause. Back to Action Stations for the day and no time to investigate futher. It would have to wait.
"Assume NBCD state 2 condition Yankee". Another long day, then back down the mess to be confronted with more water. Was there a hole under the waterline? Then a voice from the back said, "what about the bilges". An investigation was carried out immediately. Result - they were full, which meant every time the ship rolled, then water would seep out and spread across the mess.
First of all a submersible pump was tried but was unsuccessful, the pump would not fit. Another voice from the back said, "Get the Spey pump from the after Section Base". After strenuous humping we finally got it down to the mess only to find that fate was against us. The seals were broken which only served to spread water everywhere. We returned the pump and tried the same thing with the one from the Forward Section Base. Hoses were rigged again, up through the escape hatch, down 2R and out onto the quarter deck. It worked! ! ! All the water was removed. The MEs arrived and manage a more permanent solution to our problem and we remained dry.