War Stories - Dumps

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Dumps

No work about the Army would be complete without mention of one the most natural of bodily functions, going to the toilet. One of the many things they taught us on our recruits course is the importance of hygiene, especially 'in the field' where water may be a rationed commodity and any number of nasty germs may be lurking to invade our poor overworked unsuspecting bodies. After a while it seems like second nature to grab a spade along with the toilet paper (real hard men used standard issue toilet paper which is only very slightly thinner than cardboard, the rest of us used 'comfy bum' ie proper shop bought toilet tissue available in a range colours and some with a nice smell).

One CO in particular liked to have regular inspections of all the toilets under his command and woe betide the barracks that had the gall to present him with one that didn't have the ends of the toilet paper neatly folded over, or the channel blocks not evenly spaced. One day, some bright spark decided to see what would happen if, horror of horrors, a stain was found in a pan. In marched the CO with his adjudant and other accolites, the seats in the cubicles were lifted one by one when arrrrggh a STAIN was discovered. An anguished cry of "What the f*** is that !!" was heard when some lowly soldier bent forward ran his finger through the stain and put it into his mouth. "Tastes like s*** Sir" came the reply. Later on people were discussing whether smooth or nutty peanut butter looks more realistic!

We were taking part in a major NATO exercise, and for a while were halted with our vehicles in a large forest. We were told we were very lucky as some foreign ambassadors were coming to visit us to see how we spent the millions of pounds it takes to keep a standing Army ready and alert at all times to blow some evil bugger off of the face of the Earth. It was decided that the common soldiery was best kept out of the way and so we were told to stay in our vehicles, this we were happy to do as it meant we probably wouldn't be bothered for a while. Soon after we could hear a helicopter landing and a lot of Rogers and Jeremys (officers) falling over themselves to be introduced to the Brass. Shortly after the back door of our vehicle was opened and a man with the largest set of epaulets I've ever seen stared in at us. The epaulets had a life of their own, they were covered with red tabs, pips, crowns, and miles of gold braid. They were so big a small gust of wind would have carried him away like a kite. They were so impressive they probably lit up at night. The magic of the moment was let down slightly by a couple of things, the bloke wearing them had a set of bright green galoshes on and he looked about three and half feet tall. On our part, we were very busy playing cards at the time, and as soon as he opened the door he let out a great waft of fog comprising mostly of cigarette smoke, very old farts, wet socks that had been pushed into odd nooks and crannies to dry and the smell of half a dozen blokes who had spent too long living in damp conditions and who hadn't been too careful about washing for a week or so. The atmosphere was also let down slightly by our NCO who was near the front of the wagon and on realising the door had been opened told us to shut it before some w***** of an officer came over and gave us a roasting. With that the door was slammed very firmly shut, a good job no one had their hands in the way as he would have lost a couple of fingers. A little later on this visiting military attache asked where the toilets were, when he was given a spade and some comfy bum he promptly got back into his helicopter and buggered off. Peace and quiet descended over the forest again, but only for a short while before we had a very unpleasant visit by one of our officers.

The usual method employed when out in the middle of nowhere with your spade and comfy bum was to dig a small hole, shove the spade into the ground and squat over the hole you dug. Extra leverage, if needed, could be applied by straining on the handle of the spade. After finishing, refill the hole.

field toilet

Some of the exercises we were in meant eating hardly anything except our rations, these consist of a couple of thousand calories in the form of chocolate and lots of fatty / stodgy canned foods. The tins were full of things like cheese pocessed (processed cheese), babies heads (steak and kidney pie), and train crash (jam roly poly). This much stodge meant that once we were 'on rations' you needn't worry about going to the toilet for at least three days, the longest I went was six, unfortunately, at the end of this time it doesn't matter where you are or what you're doing if you've got to go you really, really, REALLY got to go.

Exercises that simulate being in a chemically contaminated environment meant wearing a 'noddy suit' (a charcoal impregnated protective suit) for weeks on end. These suits are the worlds best at protecting you against some of the evil crap that will get flung around in the event of a 'dirty war'. The older version of these suits had a pair of trousers that were held up by long tapes attached to the back of the trousers that crossed your body, over your shoulders then tied to the front of the trousers. Going to the toilet meant much wriggling around to get your trousers down and then being very careful where the tapes went, you certainly didn't want them dragging behind you! One officer in particular is well remembered for his cry of "Get me a f****** knife, NOW" after losing sight of his trouser tapes.

A trick that has been played on more than one person is to follow them with your own spade when they go off with theirs and some comfy bum. If you're careful, you can sneak up behind them, place your spade beneath them and be out of sight before they can see you. When they turn round to fill the hole in . . .

War Stories | War Pics 1 | War Pics 2 | Recruits 1 | Recruits 2 | Dumps | Exercise 1 | Exercise 2 | Exercise 3 | Exercise 4 | Vehicles | NBC | Danger UXB | Dangerous | By Air and by Sea

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