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.
They sort themselves out into their "tops" each with its petty officer, Captain-of-the-Top, in front.
He checks over their names with a list that he carries in a notebook.
He has to fit in the meal hours "laid-down" by regulations.
He has so to adjust matters that the day's work does not begin too soon, with no daylight to see what is being done, nor end too late when efforts are beginning to flag.
As its minute hand touches the routine time for calling all hands he nods, the marine strikes the bell with a thunderous clash, the Quartermaster's pipe sets up a high-pitched squealing wail throughout the ship, and the ship's buglers sound off Reveille.
Father-and-Mother of a Hullabaloo All over the ship there starts at once the father-and-mother of a hullabaloo. " None of them lack lung power, and their combined chorus would waken the dead.
The Chief Boatswain's Mate checks over with the Captains of Tops that all are present - and along the deck comes the Commander himself, his feet thrust into short sea-boots, and with a muffler round his neck - up at the same time as his men and waiting to detail them to the various jobs that will keep his ship fighting fit and clean.
The Boats' Officer has one or two early jobs to be done in his boats, and the Commander allocates "one hand from each part" to him; the Chief Gunner also has a few outstanding jobs, and the Commander says Carry on the Gunner's Party.
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.