It was a long time ago, but the stench still haunts me. While in the senior service, and serving on that fine vessel HMS Invincible, a terrible, terrible thing happened during its last deployment before being sent to the knackers yard. As it was the last deployment, the supply officer had taken the decision that instead of ordering the usual amount of fresh victuals, that it would be cost effective to use whatever was left in the ships freezers, no matter how long it had been in there, oh, how he regretted that decision.
So after several weeks of sailing about the North Atlantic we finally turned for home, the evening meal was dished up, a choice between lamb and fish, we didn't know it then, but it was a game of brown trouser Russian roulette.
A couple of hours later, suddenly and without warning, half the mess started loosing off what can only be described in naval terms as a "full broadside". The noise, the smell, the looks of sheer panic on the faces of the afflicted as they suddenly sprinted out the door up the passage way to the nearest heads, only to find that half the ships company were also doing the penguin sprint to any heads that they could find. Within minutes, the passageway looked like a major incident in a mulligatawny soup factory, some didnt even make it out of the mess before their sphincters waved the white flag of surrender and accepted their fate. And those that werent affected? well, the rolling motion of the ship, combined with the stench of a couple hundred sailors sharting themselves triggered what can only be described as a vomiting chain reaction, it was carnage!! The sickbay was swamped (literally), then the medial officer announced over the ships tannoy that it appeared that the fish may have been "off" and anyone affected was to stay in bed for 24 hours and to keep taking fluids. So, on this advice I crawled to bed, poured myself into my sleeping bag and zipped it up, with hindsight not the smartest thing to do, as 30 minutes later, I was still desperately fumbling with the zip to escape my quilted coffin of diarrhea as a jet of bottom gravy came out with such velocity that it hit the back of my head, and there I lay delirious, in my own filth for the next 12 hours.
And the aftermath? Several decks had to have a deep clean, the Chinese laundry men onboard, had thousand yard stares for about a week, after dealing with soiled clothes/sleeping bags/towels and it was found that the fish had been onboard so long that they should have been awarded a Falklands Medal.