When did comrades become colleagues?

Are / were your muckers comrades or colleagues?

  • Colleagues

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It's common to hear journalists and media types refer to soldiers being respected etc. by their "colleagues" when they should IMV use the term "comrades".

Colleagues suggests (to me) people who you have to get on with in an office for a few hours five days a week not those who you eat, sleep, fight and die with.

This usage has now spread to the Royal Marines:

Commander of the UK Task Force, Brigadier Jerry Thomas RM, said:

"It is with great sadness that I have to announce the death today of a Royal Marine. Our thoughts, sympathy and prayers are very much with the family, friends and colleagues.

I'm certain that no disrespect would have been meant by the Brigadier but am I alone in thinking that the word "colleagues" cheapens the relationships that bind troops together?
EX_STAB I think it is only because so many in New Labour still refer to themselves at the Party Conference as 'comrades' - so the media don't want to confuse the issue.
Fighters not bleeding ASDA shelf stackers FFS
'Colleagues in Arms' definitely does not have a ring to it.
In fact it displays a lack of understanding of the basic covenant between soldiers.

Just another example of how public utterances sound more and more like they were designed by a committee.
Can you imagine what Churchill would make of that?


Book Reviewer
We became colleagues when the civvies started riding rough-shod over those who live and die with their comrades.
stop being so picky. its pretty much the same thing. would you like it if they told us to stop calling them civvys? youd most prob tell them to grow up

besides comrade sounds too russian :)
Comrade, colleague, mucker, oppo, mate, pal... all mean more or less the same thing. I suppose which word I use depends on whether I am writing or speaking, and of course who I am with.

BTW someone had a go at me recently for using the term "colleague" in the Gen Jackson debate.




They were not colleagues, they were more than comrades, they were and remain my muckers!
Friends and brothers.....even the sh1theads!
Use of the term "colleague" is fine in a peacetime environment, but is frankly insulting when applied to a guy who has been killed in combat.
Colleagues, is all too corporate, and suggests people who probably don't even share a table in the staff canteen.
Someone who is prepared to share in your life, and quite possibly, your death, deserves better, he is a comrade.
It's always been comrades. Not dissimilar to the Kameraden of the finest Army we ever fought.

If you roll over and accept "colleague", how will you ever acquire any traditions?
Through these fields of destruction
Baptism of fire
I've watched all your suffering
As the battles raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

"Colleagues" just doesn't seem to reflect the sentiment.
RABC said:
Never colleagues - much more than that

Yes RABC, but by how much more than that we would rather not know,
if you don't mind.

What I object to the word 'colleague' is that the word so obviously come from the outside civilian world into the army one.
It just plain doesn't define the relationship.
You work or play golf with a colleague not fight and die with them.

Mind you the formality inherent in the word might be heralding a return of the traditional stiff upper lip of old.
When you all start catching the 8:15 each morning to the battle front wearing bowler hats the word will become appropriate.
It's definitely kamerad in der Waltenkommando.
Given the corporate ethics and "management tools" that the Army now employs, MOD probably thinks colleague is an apt description of those we work and fight with.

Until we get shot of this civilianisation of the Army then things like this will keep on coming our way. FFS, I can barely understand a thing in the First Sight file these days.
From the Neue Arbeit dictionary 2007 edition.

"Comrade" - something you have to call smelly old ex-miners or steelmen, or whatever they were before we invented the service industry economy and filled it with immigrants, once a year at party conference,North.

"Colleague" - person of no tactical importance, that you look down on whilst inisisting that they are very important to you. Pawn in the game of who gets the highest royalties for their memoirs. General people.

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