I have recently finished reading Nemesis, Max Hastings’s account of the final year of the war against Japan. It’s well written and definitely worth reading. One anecdote stuck particularly in my mind: USAAF B29s attacking Japan would often hit thermals bouncing the aircraft about. On one aircraft the thermals loose the toilet which emptied on a crewmember. Thereafter he became known as Pisspot Smith.
This reminds me of two of my father’s wartime stories. One occurred when he was on stand down near Basra before onward posting to Burma. For a short while he was assigned as a navigator on a C-47 Dakota. On a couple of occasions they had to fly a particularly unpleasant officer on inspection visits to Indian Army Service Corps deports in the region. He must have been particularly offensive for dad and his crewmates to wait until the officer went to use the aircraft’s chemical toilet before encountering “thermals” - at least that’s what they told their commanding officer, who accepted their explanation.
My dad is friends with a fellow Pathfinder, “Chappy” who served as a flight engineer in 582 Squadron which flew Lancasters. Over one target his Lancaster was coned – caught by several searchlight beams. A coned aircraft was usually dead meat unless urgent evasive action is taken (and usually still was). It was standard procedure to dive to gain speed then turn violently to escape the beam. The pilot did this and luckily the plane survived. During the escape Chappy was thrown to the floor and felt a hard, painful blow to his head. He then felt what he thought was blood trickling down his face. A crew member checking whether he was seriously wounded noticed that the liquid was not blood but urine. What happened was that the pilot’s urine bottle had come loose and hit Chappy. For a while he was known as “Pisshead”.
It was particularly amusing to hear Chappy’s wife tell the story at a Pathfinder Day at RAF Wyton a couple of years ago.