The Sea Cadet, No. 5, Vol. 2, January 1945

In one o f "W arspite's" 15-inch turrets. The gnns are being loaded. The turret has been 4 ‘closed up ”for many hours. The ship is near­ing her firing-point. Like everyone else on board, the guns' crews wear anti-flash gear to protect them make sure that he had not forgotten a certain little box. That box contained tubes of morphia. If Knocke opened up, they might be sorely needed. In a corner, Magee sat nonchalantly screw­ing home a monstrous telephoto lens, which completely dwarfed the camera. The loud-speaker croaked again a“G ”call on the bugle “Action stations.” The wardroom emptied. The mess-decks emptied, too. Below decks men streamed up and down ladders, squeezed through the manholes of hatches, hurrying to their stations. Far below the waterline a solitary leading stoker made his throughway the four shaft tunnels, checking the temperature of the bearings, entering it in his report. Like the rest, he wore anti-flash gear ashe went his lonely round, cutoff for the duration of the action from even the benefit of the commentary which from time to time the Commander broadcast to the ship's company. An hour or so later I climbed up to the compass platform, the station of the Captain and a host of officers res­ponsible for the handling and fighting of the ship. At this moment it was the most crowded, and the quietest, place on board. You could feel that quiet­ness. It is not that abridge is ordinarily so silent. But just then we were steam­ing parallel to the coast, working up to our firing position. Under a dawn which seemed grimmer than most dawns I have seen, we could make out the low- lying shore: we could seethe screen of M.Ls. which was protecting us. Astern came the monitors Roberts and Erebus, and between us and the shore steamed innumerable landing craft, working their way along in readiness for the In the “Surface Plot" the course is noted. “Sch o o lie "—the Instructor Lieutenant— reads off bearings in the compartment where all shipping movements are recorded. Alighted spot on the chart shows the ship's position guns were trained in the direction of the Knocke battery. Here and there, there came a gun-flash from the shore. They were firing at the landing craft and their escorts. But out where we were all was still quiet. The Knocke guns were leaving us alone. It was not until sometime afterwards that I learned that that battery, which could have caused sous much trouble, was assault on the beaches. Our fifteen-inch captured by Canadian troops an hour or two before we came within its range. There was astir on the flag deck. A great White Ensign fluttered up to the peak, W arspite's battle ensign. Now we were going into action. The broadcast croaked once more: “We shall be opening fire with fifteen-inch in a few minutes.” Everywhere in the upper parts of the ship officers and men got out ear-plugs or screws of cottonwool 133
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