Mobile Unit. Hands to action stations

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Epis 1060. Part 1-8. Music and announcer’s introduction to 'Hands to Action Stations' a programme recorded on HMS Indefatigable and narrated by one of the Admiral’s Staff Officers, Lieutenant Commander Savage [probably E.G. Savage]. The Indefatigable and her escort destroyers, Wizard and Urchin exercise during peace time to keep up standards of fighting efficiency and the following recordings include drills with real crew.

Five-thirty wake-up call for three flight commanders of the first patrol. Leading pilots' briefing with flight instructions. In the two hangers, mechanics check the aircraft before lifting them onto the flight-decks. From here where they are safely positioned for take-off by the Flight-deck party under the direction of the flight-deck officer.

Pilots are deployed, aircraft manned and started-up whilst the Captain and Command Air determine windspeed requirements. Aircraft are taxied out by flight-deck assistants. The flight-deck officer determines when each aircraft can depart. Three aircraft depart for patrol.

By 9am thefFlight patrol have been on station for two hours. The first reports are coming into the Direction Room. Once the enemy is intercepted their every move is checked. The signal from the Admiral is anticipated as some enemy aircraft have broken through. Far below the Chief Engineer receives orders to carry out manoeuvres as the ship prepares for action under threat.

Interview from machinery control room. Enemy aircraft are detected, and Damage Control Headquarters maintains a state of readiness. Bugle call, overhead loudspeaker. The Gunnery Officer orders instructions and close-range weapons fire.

Description of Indefatigable’s anti-aircraft gunnery which relies on human direction. Seamen, cooks and stewards provide a steady flow of ammunition in the magazines. Sound of instruction through overhead loudspeaker and responding gun fire. Damage Control Headquarters manages the sealing of doors and compartments as action unfolds; in addition, it’s their job to supply steam, water and electricity to all parts of the ship under any conditions.

The final phase of the exercise is landing the combat patrols. Nets and arrester wires on the flight-deck are assembled to allow the aircraft to break speed as they land. General atmospheric sounds from the flight-deck. Instructions over loudspeaker. First aircraft lands successfully and arrester wire is reset. Commentary as second aircraft descends too fast and crashes into the island on the flight-deck Firefighters and staff assist the pilot to free himself of the aircraft and he walks away.

The routine exercises conclude at 10.30am and the squadron stands by for the next order. A whistle blasts and the command, “Hands to stations for riding Destroyers” is issued.

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Year 1945

Reference number 5449

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Credits New Zealand Broadcasting Service. Mobile Recording Unit, Broadcaster
Savage, Edward Graham, 1912-2011, Commentator

Duration 01:20:00

Date 01 Jan 1945