T H E A F
T F I R S T A I D P A R T Y
The two dates, 21st and 25th May will stay in the ship's company's memories for a long time. Not least those of the After First Aid Party.
The First Aiders were split into two groups; one of four including the POMA John Wicks in the Sick Bay, and the second just the PO Writer and one up in 1M Flat. On the 21st we received reports of casualties and soon members of the Flight appeared from the Hangar, together with others from the Laundry and Tiller Flat. The 1M Team dealt with the more seriously hit Flight members, sending them along to the Wardroom for attention from the Doctor, and the Sick Bay party handled those casualties from 2 Deck and the lightly injured Flight members.
Luckily of course all our casualties were "relatively" light, and when we had done what was possible in the Sick Bay those not yet ready to return to Duty went down to the Petty Officers Mess which was in use as a holding area run by the Captain's PO Steward and a couple of men from the Action Messing Team. In all 16 casualties were treated from this raid.
By the 25th we were of course comparatively hardened fighters (!) but down aft we thought our final hour had come when with a loud bang that bomb entered the starboard side and exited through the Flight Deck doing a lot of damage on the way but fortunately causing no casualties. Our relief was cut short however when we heard that COVENTRY was sinking and that we were to pick up her survivors. There was a detailed plan to deal with this and all the preparations were put in hand.
The Flight Deck was of course unusable for helicopter casevacs and some changes had to be made but very soon survivors were pouring in from what seemed like every direction at once, but there were so many volunteers from our crew to do anything to help, that soon it was all sorted out, and things went swiftly and efficiently until all survivors were onboard and being looked after.