G l o s s a r y

[in the course of development – add any you think fit]



Ack Ack                        Anti-aircraft fire


AOC                Army Officer Commanding?

                        (Not current usage. Now means Air Officer Commanding)


ASC                        Army Service Corps

                        (Later ‘Royal’ Association; later Royal Corps of Logistics)


AT                        ?Ammunition Transport                                  Please confirm


Banda                        A hut


Billingsgate                        London fish market


Blighty                        Affectionate name for England, from Hindi bilalati


Boche                        Derogatory term for the Germans


BQMS                        Quartermaster Sergeant                         See 29.7.18  ?’B’


Cars                        Trams (local usage)


Category Man                        ? refused further active service    See 20.2.18


CO                        Commanding Officer


CRA                        Suffix to person’s name. What is it?         See 2.7.17


Crescents                        Malarial deformed red blood cells


Dixies                        Large cooking utensils. ‘Dixie can’ from Hindi degci 


Fag                        Cigarette


Fritz                        Derogatory term for the Germans


Froggies                        French people


FWD                        Four wheel drive


GEA                        German East Africa

                        (Later Tanganyka; later Tanzania)


GI                        Instructors of Gunnery


Glass                           Barometer/thermometer. 

                        All temperatures quoted are in degrees Fahrenheit


GOC                        General Officer Commanding


GOC  RA                        General Officer Commanding – Royal Artillery


Grain               Old imperial measure of weight, equal to a grain of rice or about 1/7000 kilogram
In 2008 Peter.Gilles@atk.com pointed out it should be of a pound, not kg (454gm)


GRO                        ?General routine/regional/regimental Order   See 26.1.17


Half Crown                        Pre-decimal (1971) coin of 12½p.value, 32mm.in diameter


HE                        High Explosive


HMT                        His Majesty’s Troopship 


HS                        Hospital ship


Hun                        Derogatory term for the Germans


Jerry                        Derogatory term for the Germans


KUR                        Kenya Uganda Railway


Mealy meal                        Ground Indian corn


MO                        Medical Officer


NCO                        Non-Commissioned Officer (up to and including

                        Warrant Officer)


OC                        Officer Commanding


Our ‘friends’                        Derogatory term for the Germans


Outspan          To camp.  A Boer word referring to the unhitching of oxen or horses from trek waggon 

QM                        Quartermaster


Pictures, the                        The cinema


Pompey                        Portsmouth


Puggarees From the Hindi.  It refers to a light scarf worn around the hat to keep the sun off


Punkah Wallah                        Native fan operator


Puttees                        Leg bindings


RAMC                        Royal Army Medical Corps


RE                        Royal Engineers


RFA                        Royal Field Artillery


RGA                        Royal Garrison Artillery


RNAS                        Royal Navy Air Service (later Fleet Air Arm)


RTO                        Rail Transport Officer


SAFA                        South African Field Artillery


Schemes                      Manoeuvres


Shilling                        Pre-decimal (1971) of  5p. value, xx mm. diameter


SOS                             ?Shoot on Sight


SM                              Sergeant Major


Smoker                       Civilian word for a smoking concert.  A get-together usually in a pub with entertainment laid on.  Usually all-male


Swell                            A sartorially elegant man.



Tommy                        Tommy Atkins – the archetypal British soldier (name used in the specimen pay book)


Topee                          A pith helmet for protection against the sun


Wire                            Telegram