The Chief Boatswain's Mate checks over with the Captains of Tops that all are present - and along the deck comes the Commander himself, his feet thrust into short sea-boots, and with a muffler round his neck - up at the same time as his men and waiting to detail them to the various jobs that will keep his ship fighting fit and clean.
He checks over their names with a list that he carries in a notebook.The design and framing of the ship's routine is the sale prerogative of her Executive Officer.As "Chief Housemaid" he has to set aside adequate time for his ship to be cleaned, swept and garnished.We Begin our Day with the Morning Watch Let us then start "while it is yet dark," in the small hours of the morning watch, with the Officer of the Watch drinking a steaming cup of hot cocoa in the shelter of the after-turret, and the Quartermaster doing the same thing at his desk in the greater shelter of the quarter-deck screen doors.The first item on his printed "Daily Routine" will be "Call cooks and galley party." There will be no printed time for this: the ship's cooks know how long it will take them to get the first meal prepared and they will have "put themselves down" for a call in the gangway quartermaster's call book, The Royal Marine Corporal of the Gangway has looked at this and, with a glance at the clock, speeds away to give these first risers their "shake." Then comes "Call Duty Regulating Staff, Boatswain's Mates and Buglers" - they too are rousted out.At length all the minor demands upon the available hands have been made and met - then clean ship with the remainder and the Commander orders "Part of the ship the rest! Forecastlemen collect their treasured "FX "-marked brooms and buckets, Foretopmen theirs, and Quarterdeckmen theirs.The canvas hoses, often leaking at the joints, and known more affectionately as "water-snakes," are coupled up to the fire-hydrants along the deck.Down below the flats and passages are similarly being cleaned and washed, mopped and dried.And so to a Well-earned Breakfast Again the bugle rings out - this time the call is for Guard and Band.That's the secret of a warship's white decks - sand and scrubbers, salt-water and elbow-grease.While one party cleans the deck, others, with hand-scrubbers groom the gangways and platforms.