So, many things had to be done to get our ship ready for war. We all moved into 'action rig' instead of normal day clothing. All loose equipment down to seat covers were removed, the logic being that anything that could foul a damage control pump should be ditched. Of course my cabin was on the same deck as the flight deck and if water had got that high then maybe things had really gone wrong. It was quite funny how some things got out of proportion. There was a move to remove some of the flight deck markings to make the ship less visible - what?!! Darken ship procedures became very de rigeur. Showing a light at night was meant to be fatal. Bit of a shame then that they had to turn on the damn things so we could land back on the deck at night. At the same time they painted a bloody great black stripe down the funnel and sides of our Type 42 destroyers so they weren't confused with the two the Argies had. Some clown even suggested we should carry our gas masks as they could be used to help escape from a smoke filled compartment - going against the last three thousand years of safety thinking - if there's smoke, there's no bloody oxygen and no gas mask is going to help. Me, I carried the case but it contained my actions station mug, chocolate and other come in handy stuff. So on we go to beards....... As the photo shows below some of us were rather proud of our face fungus (even if Fiona hated it). One day a ships memorandum appeared saying that they all had to be shaved off because of the danger of making 'flash burns' worse. Of course we all wore anti flash hoods when needed but apparently, once again all safety thinking of previous years was thrown out of the window. Despite protests we were told to bloody well get on with it. So I attempted my revenge. I produced a further spoof memorandum saying that it had been decided that as beards were a burn hazard then so was all body hair and therefore all of it had to be shaved off. I was hoping that that the next day someone would turn up bald and shiny but unfortunately no one took the bait, probably because they thought the whole thing was stupid in the first place.
Shiny, happy, hairy, people.
So this is what I spent the next three months wearing. The green suit is my 'goon bag' a dry suit designed to increase survival time in the water not unlike modern diving dry suits. It was uncomfortable enough for one flight but I wore it all day every day. The nine millimetre pistol almost killed me. We were issued them for self defence if we came down in the islands, but there was nowhere really to keep it, so I wrapped it in a duster and kept it in the bottom ankle pocket of the suit. After the war I found that it had worn a hole in the inner lining of the material which meant my goon bag would have been useless. The blue thing on a strap is my standard issue life jacket, I had a much better one in the aircraft and that is what I would have used. Oh and the white thing around my neck is my anti flash hood to protect me from flash burns on my now smooth shaven beardless face!!!!