of the Crew's Mess: When not standing
watch, the Crew's Mess became the center of most activities for most
crew members. Four meals a day were served: breakfast, lunch,
dinner and midnight rations (mid-rats). The crew, while on patrol,
was divided into 3 watch sections. Each section stood 6 hours
watches on duty and 12 hours off duty. While one section was on
watch, another would usually be sleeping and the other would either up
working on their qualifications, performing maintenance on equipment or
relaxing. When the Crew's Mess was not being used for meals, it
became the place where many crew members "hung out" to read, swap sea
stories or play games (cards, Acey-Ducey, cribbage, etc.). Even
the "on watch" section frequented the Crew's Mess to grab a cup of
coffee or glass of "bug juice" (Kool-Aid) after making a "head call" in
Typically, the "on
coming" watch section would line up in the Crew's Berthing compartment,
on the starboard side until the meal was "called". Then they would
seat one of the 5 tables, which typically sat 8 crew members at each.
On most crews, the table of the port forward corner was reserved for
Chief Petty Officers. Once the "on coming" watch finished eating,
they would relieve the section "on watch", who would then line up in
Crew's Berthing until their meal was called.
A movie screen could be pulled down on the after bulkhead (back wall)
and the 3 tables that faced it had a section that folded down to become
the backs for the benches on that side. The movie projector was in
a locker on the forward bulkhead.
Other activities were also held in the Crew's Mess by each crew.
Listing just a few: Cermonies to present crew members their Dolphins or
departing plaque & photo of the Lee; Half Way Night parties; Casino
Night; Horse Racing Night; Shellback & Bluenose ceremonies and many