Break out the holystone

Today’s bluejackets have to worry about modern 21st century problems while underway such as flakey internet signals, running out of pop, broken exercise equipment, 1980s tech in the CIC, chicken wheels, and lines for the washing machine. One thing they don’t have to fool with is the old 01 Division holy-stone train.

What is a holystone? Well here is the wiki on it and another mention here but suffice to say that this lump of sandstone, boiler brick, or even ballast weight was common to sailors from the 18th century through WWII. Its simple to use, just add seawater and sometimes a liberal coating of sand and scrub away at the teak decking of your old school battleship, cruiser, destroyer or frigate along with a dozen or so of your closest hammock mates under the close supervision of the bosun.

Sailors rubbing the deck of the Japanese battleship Yamashiro, Seto Island Sea, 1943

Sailors rubbing the deck of the Japanese battleship Yamashiro, Seto Island Sea, 1943

Sailors rubbing the deck of battleship HMS Rodney, 1940

Sailors rubbing the deck of battleship HMS Rodney, 1940

Sailors holystoning the deck of Pelorus-class protected cruiser HMS Pandora in the early 20th century

Sailors holystoning the deck of Pelorus-class protected cruiser HMS Pandora in the early 20th century

Working the deck of the old HMS Nelson

Working the deck of the old HMS Nelson

Royal Navy Battleship Sailors scrubbing holystoning Bridge HMS Royal Oak Photo 1917 colorized by Postales Navales

At the end of the day you would have a nice, clean deck that had been stripped of its top layer of grit and grime.

Of course today’s sailors much prefer nonskid.

Except for those who are assigned to the last two wooden decked ships in the U.S. Fleet, the USS Constitution and USCGC Eagle who just donated a spare one to the USS Missouri museum…However they still have plenty left over.


Somethings never change



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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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