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NA(AH) Ellor - AKA Cinders

NA(AH) Ellor catching rugby ball
NA(AH) Ellor catching rugby ball

HMS Ocean, week of Sat 7- Thu 12 March 09

By NA(AH) Ellor - AKA Cinders

Saturday 7th

0730: The day starts with the usual of getting up showering and shaving before cleaning starts.

0800: We had to clean the air department flats (which are 5D, 5E, 5F port and starboard side) for about an hour. We don’t always have to do this, but because we finished flying before midnight the night before, we had to complete this task.

0900:  Now that the boring task of cleaning is done, I have two hours to myself to do any personal jobs that needs to be completed, because I haven’t got anything important, I head off to the CV gym (7D) to do thirty minutes on the cross-trainer and thirty minutes of weight machines.

1015: Back down the mess (7G Air) for another shower and to handwash my training kit, and to chill out before the mad rush for lunch and to get on watch at midday. You have to be a good relief in order to get the same in return.   

1115:  Waiting outside the galley fifteen minutes before lunch (so we, the Aircraft Handlers, are first in the queue). Just to grab the usual roll, jacket potato and beans, before heading back down the mess to get my overalls on and go up to the flight deck.

1230:  We went to flying stations to launch one Merlin aircraft for Cyprus.

1300: Relaxed from flying stations, we opened the flight deck for the Saturday afternoon flight deck sports. This week we played deck hockey, which the Wardroom A team won beating the PO’s mess in the final.

1630: Back to flying stations for the recovery of the Merlin we had launched to Cyprus earlier, and the launch of two other Merlins. I had to show AB (CIS) Mencner around the flight deck because Ocean is having a “departmental crosspol” over the next few weeks. This is just one member of the ship’s company working for another department for a day.

1930: I get relieved by NA (AH) Edwards (Annie), so I can shower and get into night rig for dinner at 2000 (Steak night!)

2030: The PO’s mess put on a Horse Racing Night, our mess bought a horse in the first race for £26 and I had the fortunate task of becoming the jockey, only to finish joint fourth out of six, by this time it was about 2100 so I headed for bed.

Sunday 8th

0310: Got up for a wash, and went to breakfast at half three, and got on deck for ten to four to relieve Annie. The start of another eight hour watch.
0630:  After the recovery of two Merlins which had been flying since I had been on watch, there was a mishap on deck. While the last Merlin was shutting down, another Merlin which was on six spot was being moved to the aft lift, but confusion fell between the flight deck party and the squadron and the nose wheel locks were left on. This caused the tyres to burst, with the aircraft between five and six spot. They had to change the nose wheels on deck, which took about an hour, but that’s the sort of thing we’re expertly trained to handle.

0800:  With the Merlin fixed, NA (AH) Bottomley and I had the “great” job of lifting, hoovering out and knocking down ringbolts for the whole of fly two (the area between the two lifts) and the aft lift. A job I don’t mind doing as long as the sun is out (which it was), but ‘confusion’ between a leading hand and the two of us led to putting the hoover and mile of electrical cable away between doing the lift and fly two made the job take twice as long!

1130:   40 Commando and 845 Squadron joined us with two Seaking Mk4 aircraft. The Seakings on deck, came the end of my watch, just time for lunch before bed at half twelve.

1600:  I got up to go to the CV gym for an hour, before getting into night rig and cleaning our five deck flats.

1930:  After finally getting dinner (because 40 Commando were on board) I went on watch to find flying had been cancelled, but I had to do upper deck sentry (UDS) from 2100 until 0400.

2100:  I got the good news I don’t have to do UDS duties but one of the fridges down 7Q was broken down and everyone on watch had to muster to move all the meat up to a CHACON on the vehicle deck (4R). No early stand down for me, but I was in bed for midnight.

Monday 9th

0900:  I got up and went to the gym as usual for an hour, doing thirty minutes on both the cross-trainer and the stepper.

1030:  Me and the other lads cleaned our flats on five deck, again for an hour, before going to lunch and going on watch for twelve.

1245:  Hands to flying stations (HTFS), for a Seaking tasked to vertrep (load lifting), I was the JCB driver, putting the loads in place. Two Merlins and a Seaking Mk7 were also flying.

1900:  Annie relieved me, so I had time for a shower before dinner. I made a quick phone call after dinner to home, to make sure my flat was still standing.

2030:  I went to bed. I have to be up at 0315 for breakfast.

Tuesday 10th

0310:  I woke up before my alarm went off which is good, I had a wash and headed for the dining hall for early breakfast.

0400:  This morning it is my turn for ACR (aircraft control room) watch keeper. All I have to do is rounds of the flight deck on the hour to make sure the aircraft are still secure.

0535:  I get a call from the hangar, asking me to drop the forward lift to pick up some stores. Normally a five minute job, but someone had jammed the emergency stop button (on the key) half way in so the lift wouldn’t work. The ETME’s really didn’t enjoy getting out of bed to fix it!

0600:  HTFS, for more vertrepping using the Seaking Mk4, but for some reason everyone seemed to be in a bad mood all watch. I got two ‘re-briefs’ for things that weren’t my fault and my flight deck hard hat went missing. I was glad when I had to cash a cheque at ten and when Annie relieved me at noon.

1200:  Lunch was really bad today; the chefs had run out of everything tasty so I had some ‘warm’ pasta and went to bed. It’s a shame if that happens as food is a big morale booster for everyone onboard.

1700:   I had the day off from the gym today. This was for two reasons- the first being I was really tired and the second was that it was “out all gash” (gte rid of the rubbish) at half four and I may have been pinged to help out. So I got up and cleaned five deck flats.

1900:  Went on watch and everyone was in a great mood now. Some one had also found my hard hat. Plus 820 squadron (Merlin) were the only ones flying, and finishing at one o’clock. A few more hours sleep I can catch up on.

2359:  Night flyers meal; spag bol. Best meal for a long time!

Wednesday 11th

0130:  We have just split down to duty team, from flying. I’ve just remembered I have to pay my council tax bill. Thank god for internet banking, half an hour later and its bed time.

0800:  Get up, I’ve missed breakfast again but im not hungry, so I go to the gym, and spent an hour and ten minutes on the stepper, cross-trainer and weight machines.

0930:  Time to clean the mess, and do my laundry, before going to lunch in an hour and half’s time.

1200:  The minute I stepped on to the upper deck I was confronted with ten jobs all at once. 857 squadron (which is the Seaking Mk7) are disembarking today, to join the RFA Fort Austin. I hadn’t seen the flight deck this busy in a long time and I’ve been on board for three years now.

1700: Its all over, but now with a few hiccups along the way, with the lifts stopping working at all the wrong times and special lashings for the load lifting going missing between all the ships in the task group. I was glad when we chopped down to duty time at half six.

1835:  The Showers have just closed for cleaning, so I got my gym kit on and did forty five minutes on the bike.

2000:  Dinner was great tonight; chicken and chips. Just time 4 a dvd down the mess, then bed.

Thursday 12th

0600:  Time to get up, wash, have breakfast and be on the flight deck by seven.

0800:  Just finished getting the deck ready for the Photex that is happening today by clearing all of the equipment off the deck and in to the hangar, then I found out that I am Yankee Patrol.

1200:  I’ve just been relieved by NA (AH) Toothill on Yankee Patrol, time for lunch.

1400:  I wasn’t allowed to go to bed because we had a brief on our next stop in Kusadasi, just the usual do’s and don’ts from the XO.

1700:  I went to circuits today, and it was a killer, arms, legs, abs and a run completed four times though.

1800:  Quick shower, up to five deck for cleaning then to dinner.

1830:  Up to the flight deck just to catch the end of the Sun Downers we then went down to the mess to watch a film before going to bed at 2200.