I feel flushed with success this morning, yesterdays blog “My Mind is in the Toilet” had more than double the usual number of hits. Obviously an interesting subject to many people and a message to me that you would like more. So the adventure continues. At about the same time as the men’s street toilets were still in use, British Rail had an oddity of their own. Does any one remember the large sign found in every railway carriage toilet, it said, “Do Not Use Whilst in the Standing in the Station”. The reason for that was the fact that when flushed the bowl flap opened onto the tracks below. It was quite fascinating for a young boy, looking down the toilet bowl at the rail ties flashing along below. Not so fascinating if one was walking the rails, might step in something nasty. Next I have to ask if anyone has ever been afraid of using a toilet? The answer is probably not, unless you were a submariner who served on a WW2 era T Class submarine, (see the posted photos). You might think it looks like any other toilet, and indeed it was used exactly as you might expect, until flushing was required. That is when the fear occurs. Most submarines had a sewage holding tank and they were quite safe to flush. The T Class boat flushed directly to sea. Still not scared eh! okay imagine you are a 100 feet below the surface, the sea pressure outside the hull is enormous. To successfully flush to sea one must first build up a greater air pressure inside the boat. That is in order to force open the heavy flap valve holding the sea pressure out and release the effluent. Still not scared, Okay imagine you have just awoken in the middle of the night to go on watch. First you need to pee, and consider, ten or fifteen others are all doing the same thing before going on watch, and all using that single toilet. No one bothers to flush until the bowl is filled to the absolute brim with smelly urine plus. That is when you arrive, still half asleep already late for your watch station and in a desperate need to empty your bladder. You first have to check the outside sea pressure then build up enough inside pressure to make sure the contents exit the boat as intended and not via the bowl onto you. There are a few things to worry about, the flap valve has been know to sometimes stick, a sudden depth change can suddenly increase the sea pressure as you prepare to push the dreaded air valve lever, being only half awake and in your haste you might simply mistake the sea-air pressure. Finally, while you are doing this you will undoubtedly remember all the horror stories about T Class toilets told by seasoned submariners while sipping their tots and scaring the s–t out of new young crew members. I hated and feared the T Class head even though I never had a blow back experience during my career.I was very happy when I moved on to the more modern A class boats.
On a lighter note, did you know the toilet seat was invented by an Englishman, however, it did not become commercially successful until a few years later when a brilliant Irish scientist decided it need a hole in the centre. And that folks is my entire knowledge of the public and private toilet subject. Hope you enjoyed, and gentlemen please remember to lift and replace the toilet seat after use.
God Bless and keep reading