The stuff you find in a war diary! At the end of the August 1915 war diary for 6th Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry there is a handwritten note from a different officer to that who wrote the main diary. Unfortunately, the identity of the officer deploring other units “not playing the game” is unknown, as his signature has not been scanned.
Lamenting latrine etiquette!
The transcription of the entry is:-
”6th Yorkshire L.I.
A much keener interest is being shown by this unit in sanitation generally. A genuine effort which has already met with much success has been made to comply with the sanitary requirements of the Corps.
Latrines are policed and kept clean, the faeces being buried. There are several urine pits with groups of tins close together in places and single tins. This is an excellent idea and obviates any fouling of the surrounding soil.
A brick incinerator had been built previous to the occupation of the camp. A man is put in charge and made responsible for its working, with excellent results.
Large baths with brick standings are used for ablutions, the water being pumped from a pond and dispersed of on prepared ground.
Eight urinals with brick standings are in use.
On receiving sudden orders to move into the Transport Camp of the 7th KRRC all latrine buckets etc were emptied and the whole camp left clean. It is very disappointing, therefore, to report that, on arriving at the new camp, the unit should find latrine buckets full and and urine bins overflowing and have to start scavenging the camp vacated by the 7th KRR’s transport. The latter unit has found the camp in a most untidy and insanitary condition on taking it over from another Division and had done much good work in putting it in order.
This does not excuse them, however, for neglecting to clean up thoroughly before departing themselves.
I also desire to put on record the fact that, while some units are careful to leave standing all sanitary appliances in use at the time of moving, others are not at all scrupulous in this respect. As a result the conscientious units suffer and are discouraged.
It is rather difficult to “play the game” as suggested in the Sanitary Circular of 8th July unless everyone concerned enters honestly into the spirit of the thing and observes the rules which have been made for the benefit of the units as a whole.
It has also been recorded that, while some units take trouble to procure tins etc suitable for latrine use, others make no effort in this direction. If one can succeed others can do so if they care to take the trouble”.
The image of latrines above is from IWM ref Q 29235 and is captioned Latrines, ANZAC Rest Station, Buire, 15/1/17. A Google search reveals many online photos that I decided might offend delicate sensibilities, but the cartoon gives you an idea of what the independent enquirer will expect to see!