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Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang

Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang

John Brophy & Eric Partridge
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
“Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang" is an excellent book about life for the WW1 troops, and contains exactly what it says - on the tin!! For research into the humble foot-slogger of the era - as opposed to the usual officer’s viewpoint given in the common letters home to mater and pater - it is invaluable.

The humour in particular is very enlightening although it is definitely a product of the times and doesn't always pull its punches when it comes to language, I would have to question an occasional entry - IE Pneumatic cavalry - Cyclish battalions, at a guess was meant to be Cyclist battalions, due to a typo. Whatever, it is still humorous!

On a personal note, one greeting in our family used by my grandfather, a WW1 veteran went; "Wotcha chum, hows your belly off for spots?" The rejoinder being "Same as me backside for pimples!" There probably was a lot similar which didn't make it into the book.

Expressions such as toot sweet were assumed to be American half-inched from the French in Vietnam & popularised by Hollywood, however I now find out were in common usage by the Tommies in WW1.

Estaminets were something I'd never heard of, I assume the ordinary pub catered for the same need back home in Blighty, although Ireland seems to have a similar type of hostelry in small hamlets.

All in all an excellent book, heartily recommended if like me you have an interest in researching relatives service who fought for King & Country


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