What is the Origin of Deolali?

Discussion in 'Professionally Qualified, RAMC and QARANC' started by Outstanding, Mar 8, 2006.

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  1. Common someone medical must know!
  2. Deolali is a town just outside Bombay, which was the main transit camp for drafts going in and out of India.

    The hospital there, I believe had a mental ward which all the people with 'issues' were sent, giving rise to the slang term 'sent Doolali'
  3. That is the version that I was given many years ago by an old soldier. As far as I am aware it holds some truth. Open to other suggestions :D

    fastmedic :twisted:
  4. The book 'Sahib' by Richard Holmes has a section on this.

    Indeed Deolali was a transit hospital where most cases, in particular those afflicted by the sun or mental issues, were send before being shipped home. Hence the phase 'gone doolally'.
  5. Thought so - an extension to this was another saying "Deolali tap" which was often done whilst tapping the side of your head - thus

    "He's a bit deolali tap"
  6. My uncle was an old Indian army man. He explained that the place was grim and used to send troops in the transit camp round the bend. There was also a mental hospital there.
    Similar situation in Cairo. Abbassia No 2 was a transit camp whilst Abbassia No 1 was a mental hospital so Abbassia became inter-changeable with ma'hoon (mad)
  7. Those were the days!
  8. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Read "Quartered safe out here" by GMF it explains the same, doolali was a transit camp. The Army in India had a habit of corrupting native lingo (as well as natives) to their own ends.
  9. As in Buckshee and Dhobi
  10. Bundook and Chit
  11. Ventress

    Ventress LE Moderator

    Gooli: Ball/ Bullet
    Chikko: Small boy
    Buckshee: Free
    Char: tea
    Jeldi: Hurry up
    Khusi (Kooshi): easy, enjoyable
    Kuds: Hill, mountains
    Nappi: Barber
    Pukka: real
    Puggled: Mad
    Wallah: man

    All words in everyday speech and from our military invovement in India and the sub continent
  12. Extract from, 'Old Soldier Sahib', by Frank Richards DCM MM (The Naval & Military Press):

    "......when we left by train for Deolalie, which at this time was a depot for all troops arriving in the country and also for all time-expired me who were leaving it. the trooping season began in October and finished in March, so that time-expired men sent to Deolalie from their different units might have to wait for months before a troop ship fetched them home. Moreover, if a man completed his seven years service with the Colours on the 30th September he caught the last boat of that trooping season; but a man who completed his seven years on the 1st October would have to serve another year with his battalion and catch the first boat home the following trooping season. The time-expired men at Deolalie had no arms or equipment; they showed kit now and again and occasionally went on a route-narch but time hung heavily on their hands and in some cases men who had been exemplary soldiers got into serious trouble and were awarded terms of imprisonment before they were sent home. Others contracted venereal and had to go to hospital. The well known saying among soldiers when speaking of a man who does queer things, "Oh, he's got the Doo-lally tap," originated, I think, in the peculiar way men behaved owing to the boredom of that camp."
  13. According to http://www.far-eastern-heroes.org.uk/alberts_war/html/doolally_tap.htm "tap" is a hindustani word meaning "fever." Puttees Senior was sent to India in 1944 and in the course of his stay was tasked with taking somebody to the hospital at Deolali. (The unfortunate had developed a phobia of rank badges and would lay into anybody from LCpl upwards. The old fellah was a Cpl, but apparently was the only person who was immune to the violent outbursts. I believe the chap never made it home, committing suicide as a result of repeated visits by doctors wearing officer rank).

    The phrases I've heard from those that have served in India are "He's got Doolally Tap" (often used by Puttees Super Senior, who was stationed in India between the wars) or "He's gone Doolally" (as in, gone to the hospital) or, as Vimeiro said, someone could be "sent Doolally." The other phrases mentioned in this thread are presumably derivations by people who have latched onto Doolally inferring mad, rather than it's true origin.