DUNNY HUMOUR By Bob Meehan, D Coy 4 RAR/NZ
Dunny humour seems to be an Aussie pastime and not to be outdone, many stories have circulated to this day on incidents concerning them during soldiers’ military careers. Here’s an assortment that’s been doing the traps for over 40 years.
Before I pass on the stories, I’d better describe the construction of our latrines (toilet) facilities. There were many and of various designs, but basically a latrine was just a very large pit in the ground, with seating arranged over it, with some form of covering to give privacy. Sometimes it had a roof to shield you from the elements. Some had multi-seating, whereby you sat side-by-side with other occupants. No such thing as modesty.
We also had facilities to urinate in called “Piss-a-Phones”, again of
various designs that ranged from cut-down 44-gallon drums, holes filled with rocks/gravel or pipes driven into the ground at a 45% angle, some with a funnel inserted in the top.
Hygiene was top priority to keep all the troops as healthy as possible during their time in the military forces. The surface area of both these facilities was covered with light oil to suffocate mosquito larvae.
The latrines were burnt off about once a week by pouring a quantity of diesel fuel into them and igniting it. This achieved two things:- it eliminated a lot of the gases that the decomposing human waste created, plus the eradication of the many forms of insects that made it their home. Nothing could get rid of the smell of the facility.
I heard a story of a soldier who visited the company dunny early one morning, wearing nothing but his undershorts. He was armed with a couple of stick books, his cigarettes and Zippo lighter. He settled down to do his business while enjoying a smoke and reading his magazines. As most blokes would do, he finished his smoke, lifted one of his buttock cheeks and dropped his cigarette into the pit. After a few seconds there was one hell of a whooshing sound followed by what was akin to the exhaust of a fighter jet. It lifted our unfortunate and hapless digger a few feet into the air, slightly scorching his arse and singeing all the hair around his scrotum.
It seems that someone had used a concoction of diesel and petrol to burn off the latrine, but because of the wet weather overnight there were some leftover vapours, which were ignited by the cigarette. He became the butt (sorry for the pun) of many jokes thereafter and it was a very timely lesson to all.