In early March 1945, with the Germans in retreat, it was the snappers who had to hold it in when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill approached the Siegfried Line and relieved himself. Photographers had to exercise self-control.
The British Prime Minister’s opportunity presented itself in western Germany near Julich, northwest of Aachen.
Despite being surrounded by a large entourage including press photographers as well as government officials and servicemen, Churchill gleefully relieved himself in full view of onlookers.
But before doing so, Churchill noted that ‘This is one of the operations connected with this great war which must not be reproduced graphically.’ Remarkably, it wasn’t.
Censorship operated during the war but the withholding of this particular image reflected special Churchillian circumstances.
As we have no access to a picture of Churchill taking care of business, the photograph illustrating this post is of a Belgian Mannekin Pis, a souvenir that PFC Morris Liebman – who was stationed in Britain, France and Belgium – brought back to America in 1945.
And what about Patton’s Willie?
When American General George S Patton’s willie is mentioned, it usually refers to his pet terrier, whose full name was William the Conqueror.
But Patton also had a penchant to pee on enemy territory: he did so directly into the Rhine.