K-Boats, Small and Unusual - the case of jittery nerves

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Since 07-04-05


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K-boats were small and unusual. There was little room for anything and since the mission of the K-boats was sonar picket duty they stayed out longer than their size would comfortably accommodate.

The coffee urn was between the galley and crew's mess, but the slot built for it barely allowed room for its top cover to be lifted. This situation was aggravated by the chief cook's storage of cigarette cartons in what little space was above the urn.

Lee Rogers reported that in 1954 after a month at sea the coffee took on a bitter taste that prompted the wrath of the crew. The men groused about the cook's lousy coffee for two weeks until he finally decided to clean the urn.

He found a sodden carton of cigarettes in the urn wedged under the filter. The discovery was most helpful in getting at the cause of the men's jittery nerves.

The combination of caffeine and nicotine wasn't good, but after the urn-cleaning everything got back to normal.