H Q 1
Working in HQ1 on the Incident Board at Action Stations and being in contact with both Section Bases, and the Ops. Room, I received the first reports of imminent attacks and resultant damage. When the voice at the other end of the line says, "HQ1, After Section " (usually it's always Cook Crooks that's first) "Explosion aft, patrols out", you wait, wondering what sort of damage we've got; is it bad? The MEO and DMEO start to plan the ways to deal with floods and fires, and the Watch in the SCC all seem to be looking at the Incident Board. Then the reports come in. We have a hole in the after Cleansing Station, through the tailor' shop and through the Flight Deck. A bomb has passed through us without exploding. We breathe a little easier, but what other damage have we got? SMEO nips off and does his on the spot assessment and then all the reports come in, and the picture on the Incident Board tells the story. Looking at the Board and remembering what sort of damage the ARDENT, ANTELOPE and COVENTRY received and what happened to them, I wonder what the Portland sea riders would have to say. I know what I have to say..."Somebody got it wrong and it wasn't US".
Everyone in the ship knows where HQ1 is and what its function is. They now associate it either with pipes such as "Do you hear there. This is HQ1. Sit re p. We have received damage to the ship in the after section and this is being dealt with. All damage is under control", or with a certain Commander (E) suddenly leaping out on them with shouts of "Put on your anti flash", or "Don't you know you could be shot in war for leaving your Action Station".
For me though HQ1 at Action Stations, for real, even managed a number of amusing incidents. Such as closing up to find a Lieutenant and a Fleet Chief fighting as to who answers which phone and Commander (E) refereeing: or lying on the deck under attack and suddenly being asked "what kind of planes are they this time", or listening to MEO saying for the umpteenth time, "It's about time LMEM Barnes that this ruddy Seawolf got its act together" as the Bofors started banging away at a close range attack.