Tommy


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cheygriz
January 25, 2003, 09:02 PM
How did British soldiers come to be known as "Tommies?"

Was it because of Rudyard Kipling's poem "Tommy Atkins?"

Or does the practice of calling British soldiers "Tommies" predate Kipling?

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Rangerover
January 26, 2003, 12:10 AM
O.k.

This is a tough one. Everything I've been able to dig up indicates that the term predates Kipling. The best I can come up with is that "Tommies" is an archaic British slang term for army rations, and that over time the term came to be applied to the troops themselves.

Why were the rations called "Tommies"? I have yet to find a clue on that.

Oh well. Maybe this tidbit points in the right direction.

And before anyone asks, no, I don't have a life, and yes, etymology is interesting! :p

Baba Louie
January 26, 2003, 06:37 AM
In one of Barry Sadler's "Casca" books, circa WWI, he tells a story about several hundred (thousand?) men signing up using the name Tommy (Something?). But it may be the Kipling thing.

My Dad has the whole series, but it is an interesting additional thought-line to pursue.

Anyone got the book in question and can respond.

Quick reads and apparently Sadler did pretty good research on the battles historically.

Adios

cheygriz
January 26, 2003, 11:38 AM
"An' it's Tommy this and Tommy that, an' chuck 'im out, the brute! But it's saviour of 'is country when the guns begin to shoot."

Rudyard Kipling

God
January 26, 2003, 12:38 PM
Seems to be from Tommy Atkins(?). A name sometimes used on specimen forms to represent a typical British army private soldier. Said to be derived from a British soldier who distinguished himself at the battle of Waterloo.



1 (http://members.fortunecity.com/dikigoros/greatwarslang.htm)

http://members.fortunecity.com/dikigoros/greatwarslang.htm




2 (rsdb.****.org/?2)

rsdb.****.org/?2




3 (http://www.britains-smallwars.com/Anecdotes/TommyAtkins.htm)

http://www.britains-smallwars.com/Anecdotes/TommyAtkins.htm

God
January 26, 2003, 12:45 PM
The four *s in that 2nd link (rsdb.****.org/?2) are f, and u, and c, and k
(hey, wadaya want - I didn't name the site). :(

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