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Someone passes the word to the engine-room to "start the fire-main": streams of water are soon cascading everywhere.
He must set aside time for "colours," cleaning guns, "defaulters," fire stations, and the various general drills - wholesale seamanship exercises which the flagship from time to time inflicts upon her squadron.
A mammoth task this, for upon its success depends the smooth running and efficiency of the ship from stem to stern. Let us then follow an ordinary day in harbour through this triumph of the Executive Officer's organising skill.
He must make the most economical use of the hands available during working hours, dealing in "bodies" rather than in the "paper-strength" of his complement, for there are always men away on leave and attending "courses" somewhere or other.
He must allow for a number of men being detached from ship routine for the various training duties required by the gunnery and torpedo officers.
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.
Down in the Marine "Barracks" there is much final polishing of buttons and brass instruments, much settling of tunics and squaring of belts and side-arms and the ship's Marine Guard and Marine Band comes trooping up on to the midship deck where a Royal Marine Officer is already waiting for them.
The Guard falls in and is inspected minutely by the Marine Officer: the Band falls in abaft the Guard.
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