S E A W O L F
The Loading Crew used to sit/sleep outside the RU magazine in 02N Flat. When awake we used to discuss the probable entry point for an Exocet, and when a raid was reported we amused ourselves by playing poker dice. The only sound that broke the tension was the "clickety clack" of the bones on the metal deck. But nobody really belived that the Argies would get close enough to attack us, and certainly not to hit us. Another sound was added to the atmosphere all too frequently, that of the fault warning buzzer from the after tracker. Billy Whizz, or Bob MacGregor became blurrs as they tried to reset the faults before that cliche of cliches could be heard again on the Seawolf intercom, "radar, TV guidance fault cleared.... all green aft".
After the SHEFFIELD incident the off watch
Ops. Room crew were moved down to join us, and then the off watch OOWs arrived with a
Command Open Line. We were moved into the magazine, protesting at first, as I think Billy
Whizz took some pleasure in clipping the door down and sealing the six of us in with six
live missiles. The OOWs brought some yellow mats with them to lie on, but they some how
found their way into the magazine, and L/S MUNN even found a blanket, and the magazine
became a home from home. Of course inside we couldn' t hear the Command Open Line or Main
Broadcast very well, but we couldn't resist the temptation of making those outside think
we could hear nothing at all!
Much amusement was found as a voice from outside shouted information that we already knew. It gave them something to do anyway! Looking back it' s lucky that the ARGIES never had a missile that homed on us, because there were a lot of verbal missiles emitted from the after part of the ship.
Now we come to the fateful period May 21st-25th when the war really caught up with us. We had never bothered to wear tin hats before the air raid which strafed us with 30mm cannon. We had always thought that Exocet was the main threat and that Pusser had so far failed to develop an Exocet proof tin hat. We changed our minds when we saw the shrapnel that ha?1 ^een dug out of the after Seawolf launcher. If you looked in the magazine during the following raids all that you would have seen would have been 6 tin hats with feet as everyone tried to get as much protection as possible from them. After each raid Billy Whizz used to phone Jimmy Green in the forward Launcher Control room to see if he was OK. Jimmy was thought to be at the greatest risk when he crawled out from under his "Exocet proof rubber mat" to answer the ' phone. During the days in Bomb Alley a new pastime was developed that of predicting the time until dusk eg. "It will be dark in six hours" and after the next air raid, "It will be dark in 5 hours 45 minutes". A combination of a cold deck and tension caused everyone to have a frequent need to relieve themselves. We would have been great at putting out fires.
The time of the COVENTRY incident was the most harrowing, partly because we were hit ourselves. By this time we had managed to talk the sadists in 02N flat out of fastening all the clips on the magazine door. This was fortunate because when Billy Whizz's voice was heard shouting, "Evacuate aft. Everyone forward", we were in a certain amount of haste to split the scene. The remaining clips were thrown off the door and we were all out and down the hatches to 1 deck without touching the rungs of the ladders. It had been thought that there was still an unexploded bomb lodged in the after part of the ship. We found ourselves lying face down in the Wardroom flat- when the chemical alarm was sounded. We were all wondering why we hadn't brought our AGRs with us! After the all clear we went on deck to assist with the recovery of COVENTRY survivors. That was the last of our action stations. The ready use mag never seemed the same after we had evacuated in such a hurry.
To our dismay the after launcher only fired one shot in anger. That was reported to have run true towards an out of range Argie plane that was about to bomb BRILLIANT. The missile scared the Argie into dropping his bombs too early (Phew).
Now we are heading home, having suffered no fatalities, our thoughts are with those who did not make it. IT COULD SO EASILY HAVE BEEN US.............
A poem by one of the Deep Magazine crew;
THE WHITE FOREST
Sitting in the missile mag four decks down
Are Curly and Lou who wear a frown
Hatch battened up, all locked in
They sit and wonder, "Will we win?"
If we don't then how do we get out ?
There's no one here to hear us shout.
After a while they stop wondering why;
Only to wonder will they die.
If that is to be, then how will they go?
Will it be quick, or painfully slow?
Looking around at the white sticks of death,
And with each bang, holding their breath.
"Listen", says one "It's the
sound of a key"
Yes it's the one to set them free.
Up the ladder, up to the top,
Out of the hatch, two head s pop.
"What's been happening?"
"Where' s everyone gone?"
Guess it's over. Guess you've won.