When some 28 men have spent the best part of two years together they get to know rather too much about each other. This makes it all the harder to decide what to record in an article such as this, there being so much that has to be left out. However whether on account of tradition or merely because the quarterdeck's vital statistics make it the most suitable part of the ship, the division's contribution to the first commission has been considerable for it has at the same time provided one of the stamping grounds for the reception of the Big-Noises who have crossed our brow with all the attendant ritual, and a suitable stage for the dissemination of the quantities of jungle juice that have been gargled away in the interests of the Empire! On a flagshowing station such as ours this has been no small task, not least of whose worries has been the ceremonial awning which has been up and down some 30 times in the last nine months, to say nothing of the main awning which, despite the loving care that has been lavished on it - it was even taken for a banyan at Daniel's Head now looks suspiciously as if it provided at least one square meal for Guayaquil's entire Grillo population.
At the head of the list of 20 bachelors and seven RAs is Petty Officer Beard who joined the Navy in 1947 as a boy in HMS Ganges. Since serving in HMS Duke of York he has been in a variety of frigates and destroyers and has also been a boy's instructor and guard petty officer in RNB. In the best Whale Island tradition he has withstood successfully the difficulties of having a TAS Officer and a TASI to compete with in the same division.
Oldest and senior member of the division is Petty Officer Manders who joined up in 1943. Not long after the end of the war he gave civilian life another try but was soon back in uniform. Since qualifying as a TASI much of his time has been spent in the officer's course section at HMS Vernon. Although always depreciating about his athletic abilities, Petty Officer Manders has been an extremely energetic member of both the ship's hockey team and the chiefs and petty officers football team.
Whilst still on the subject of sport, mention must be made of Leading Seaman Smith who has been an outstanding member of the ship's highly successful soccer team. Always very fit, he gives his best in any game and from a stationary start leaves most men standing.
Youngest in the division and junior representative from Wales, is Ordinary Seaman Howells. On finding himself too small for the police force he joined up at HMS Raleigh in 1960. However, if small in stature, he can at least claim to have had the necessity for a haircut stressed more frequently than most in his direction. A noteworthy record.
It is a pity that space precludes the possibility of mentioning everyone in the division, or of recording the many experiences during the last 18 months. Perhaps one will remember Able Seaman Ellis's cheery good mornings on "his" saluting gundeck; Able Seaman Woolmore knows all there is to know about the quarterdeck brightwork and Able Seaman Bass knows a few of the idiosyncracies of the bathywinch, to mention just a few.
There are of course others whom we see less frequently on the quarterdeck: Able Seaman Mehon casts an occasional eye on us from the bofors deck, Hayes keeps the peace on the bridge telephone line and Messrs. Langridge and Mobley guard our interests in the wheelhouse. Lastly a few who once belonged down aft. Petty Officer Mills can now be found on the top whilst Kinnear now assists with HMS Lion's electrics. And if and when you are next in barracks watch out for SBA Lacey, he might still use a needle as he did a marline spike.