Seaplane Story 9: Chow

The electronics compartment is amidships in the P5M and has a section for a tiny galley. I guess the compartment was 8 or 10 feet long and had a hatch (door) on each end. There were racks on both sides, from floor to ceiling, that held all the electronic gear and the wiring harnesses. However, on the port side and at the rear of the compartment, was the galley. The space was about 3 foot wide and had a counter with a built in electrical cook top that as I recall had 2 burners. The counter top had a built-in receptacle and a small stainless steel coffee pot to plug into it. Every crew had replaced the coffee pot in their plane with a household pot capable of making 12 cups. The planes used 400 cycle AC power rather than the standard 60 cycles like in your home but the coffee pots worked ok. Beneath the counter was storage for metal plates, pots and pans and silverware. Above the counter and mounted on the bulkhead was a stainless steel water container that probably held 3 or 4 gallons and could be removed for filling.

On short hops of 2 to 5 or 6 hours the mess hall provided us with box lunches that were pretty good. On long training hops or patrols we were provided with a box of groceries that featured steaks, canned vegetables, bread and butter and whatever else was necessary to make a meal.

The coffee pot was always plugged in as soon as we were airborne and we drank coffee anytime we weren’t busy. The steaks were prepared at times that were convenient for most of us depending on what the mission was. A hot steak dinner and coffee were always welcome. We tried to rotate the kitchen duty so nobody got tired of it.

Dave Thomas March 13, 2012


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