Trench Latrines

Discussion in 'World War I' started by Hobilar, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. Hobilar

    Hobilar Member

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    The regulation Trench Latrine in the Great War was supposed to be dug in pits 4-5 feet deep in special saps dug often at the rear of the Trench, but sometimes at the frontline , forward, so that men did not linger longer than was necessary.

    A bucket was placed in the pit. Each company would have two 'Sanitary personnel', known as 'S**t-wallahs' whose job it was to empty the Latrine buckets, bury the contents, and dig new pits. Obviously this was not a particularly pleasant duty, and was often reserved as a punishment for defaulters.This duty was understandably most objectionable and there were even cases of it leading to desertion. Defecating in a fighting or communication trench being a punishable offence.

    The most favourite type of Latrine at the front was the 'Two-holer' which was considered superior to the 'One-holer' as mates could sit side by side and chat.

    Because of the smell, many officers and some soldiers chose to go out into No-mans-Land with a spade after dark. It was wise if taking this option to first warn the sentries that you were doing so, to avoid being accidently shot as you crept back.

    Before units changed over at the front, the Latrine pits were supposed to be filled in and new ones dug for the incoming unit. In practice this consisted of just chucking the contents of the bucket into the nearest shell hole, or as far as possible.
     
  2. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    I could just imagine a shell hitting the latrine.

    :lol:
     
  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Actually my brother was in a proximty of a latrene when it took a rocket hit - he was "covered" head to toe.

    Other soldiers laughed at him but to their horror they discovered they were covered on their backs as they turned away from the blast..
     
  4. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    :lol:

    Would be really unpleasant but hilarious if it wasn't you.
     
  5. twoeagles

    twoeagles Member

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    Have to hand it to you Hobilar for posting some interesting, if terribly arcane, pieces here. Keep it up!
     
  6. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    My biggest fear was getting killed by a rocket or morter while sitting on the shitter.

    "Im sorry to inform you Maam, but your husband died honorably for his country....

    ...sitting on a shitter!"

    Yeah that would not have been pleasant.
     
  7. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    gives new meaning to the term "explosive diharrea"?
     
  8. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    I used to work with this geezer and he said he came out of the latrine and was faced with a small number of surrendering Italian troops in Sicily .
     
  9. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: ....oops, gotta go!
     
  10. Emac44

    Emac44 Active Member

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    I agree Hobilar you have come up with the Mundane of Life in the Trenches of World War One. I found them interesting and I hope you don't mind me putting my comments to some of those areas you have mentioned. I have to admit I did so from what I have heard and read from the Australian War Memorial and Museum in Canberra so it has the Australian perspective to it. But I am sure you will see that Australian Troops had similar problems in World War One to their British Counter Parts.


    And I am sorry but I can't get this visual out of my mind about Adler sitting on the crapper and a b47 rocket comes through the cubicle and him running off like a jack rabbit with with Toilet paper dragging behind him tangled up in his trousers and him clutching the the band of his trousers and looking for a place to dive in for cover. Sorry Adler but its funny. But in retrospect I wouldn't be any different nor would any one else
     
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