Wardroom

From Academic Kids

The Wardroom is the officers' mess in a warship.

It provides a place of recreation as well as being a dining room. Usually, a galley (kitchen) or scullery adjoins the Wardroom. Service is provided by stewards.

There is usually a bar and soft drinks can be purchased at various times at sea, with alcoholic drinks being available when in port. (The US Navy does not usually serve alcoholic drinks.)

Wardrooms often have rules governing ettiquette. For example, on large ships, talking about professional business in frowned upon in peace time. Also, it is not considered a place to do work in, or meet with subordinates.

The Mess President is usually the Executive Officer (second in command). The Commanding Officer is not normally a member of the Wardroom, but is normally invited to join the members for special occasions.

Origin

The name derives from the days when warships were sailing ships. The officers' mess was usually the largest contiguous available space not used for active battle, sited in the fantail or castle under the quarterdeck at the stern (back) of the ship. It was cleared away in time of battle and became the surgeon's operating theatre and ward. Often, adjoining cabins had demountable walls so that the whole space could be made larger. The officer's dining table was used as the bench where patients were brought for amputations and suturing.

The practical purpose of the space became its name, with the term of derision assumed as a name of honour.

In modern warships the Wardroom is often still used for this purpose, with fittings on the decks (floors), bulkheads (walls) and deckheads (ceilings) to allow quick fitting of operating tables and bunks for casualties.

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