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Great War Terms used by the British - P

Padre - Chaplain to the forces.

Pals' Battalions - Battalions of troops recruited from one area, often having the same kind of occupation (e.g. mill-workers).

Panzers - German tanks.

Parados - Raised back of the trench. Usually made of sand-bags.

Parapet -  Raised front of the trench. Usually made of sand-bags.

Pavé - Stone cobbled roads, pavements and squares.

PBI - Poor Bloody (British) Infantry.

Perisher - Trench periscope for observing enemy whilst concealed behind parapet or other fortification.

P Helmet - Early gas mask in the form of a hood with mica visor.

Phonetic alphabet -  Nominating some letters by words to avoid confusions in voice communication, i.e. Beer = B, Emma = M, Toc = T.

Picket -  Steel rod used to support barbed wire. Often cork- screw shaped. Frequently one of the last surface artifacts readily identifiable on the former battlefields, e.g. The Newfoundland Memorial Park.

Pill box -  Reinforced concrete structure to house machine gun.

Pip -  Star(s) showing officer's rank, e.g. Captain had 3 pips.

PIP EMMA - Afternoon. PM (post meridiem). The spoken letters of the phonetic alphabet.

Pipeline -  Trench to conceal telephone cables.

Pip Emma - p.m. - noon to midnight.

Pip, Squeak and Wilfred -  1914/15 Star, War and Victory Medals.

Platoon - Sub-unit of infantry Company, i.e. about 50 men.

Plonk -  Non-vintage white wine.

Plum and apple -  Jam.

PM -  Provost Marshal. Senior officer in Military Police.

Poilu - French infantryman - the bearded one.

Point blank - Extreme short range - over the sights of artillery guns.

POL -  Petrol, oil and lubricants for transport.

Pom fritz - French fries.

Pom Pom -  Small calibre cannon; sometimes grouped in two's or four's for maximum effect against aircraft or balloons.

Poodle faker -  Officer with social pre-occupations.

Pork and beans - Portuguese troops.

Potato-masher -  German stick-grenade.

Poilu - French soldiers themselves preferred les hommes or les bonhommes. (French, from poilu hairy, from Middle French, from poil hair, from Latin pilus )

Pickelhaube - The distinctive early war helmet with a spike on top.

Pozzy -  Jam.

PPCLI -  Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.

Provo -  Provost-sergeant - Military Police.

PT -  Physical Training.

PTI - Physical Training Instructor.

Pukka -  Absolutely genuine.

Pull-through -  Strong cord to pull oiled four-by-two through rifle barrel to clean it.

Push -  Term used by General Staff to indicate an offensive, e.g. 'The Big Push', as was said of The Battle of the Somme.

Pusher - Aircraft with rear mounted propeller. Comparatively inefficient but gave clear field of fire for the front gunner.

Puttee -  Narrow cloth band wrapped around lower leg to provide over-lap between boot and trouser bottom; in lieu of canvas gaiter.

 

Great War Terms used by the British - Q

Q -  Quartermaster Branch of General Staff.

QM -  Quartermaster sergeant; NCO i/c Supplies, Accommodation etc.

Great War Terms used by the British - R

RAF -  Royal Air Force, replaced RFC in 1918.

Rainbow Division -  42nd Division, US Army; wore rainbow motif shoulder-flash.

RAMC -  Royal Army Medical Corps.

RAP -  Regimental Aid Post.

RB -  Rifle Brigade.

RDF -  Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

RE -  Royal Engineers.

Red Cap -  Military Policeman.

Red Hat -  Staff Officer; wore red cap band.

Redoubt -  Super-fortified strongpoint; much used by Central Powers.

Red Tab -  Staff Officer; wore red collar tabs.

Register -  Ranging of an artillery gun(s) on a target by successive shots so as to permit, subsequently, an accurate barrage.

Respirator -  Later model of gas mask using a chemical filled canister to filter air intake and an airtight rubber face mask with inset glass goggles.

Reveille -  Bugle wake-up call.

Revetment -  Strengthening of trench wall by earth and, where necessary, with other materials such as wood, sand-bags and steel sheeting.

RFA -  Royal Field Artillery.

RFC -  Royal Flying Corps, 1914 - 1917.

RGA -  Royal Garrison Artillery.

RMA -  Royal Marine Artillery.

RMLI -  Royal Marine Light Infantry.

RMO -  Regimental Medical Officer.

RNAS -  Royal Naval Air Service.

RND -  Royal Naval Division.

Rocade -  Light railway serving the front-lines with men, munitions and other supplies. Became critical for the movement of the tanks to the different sectors of the battlefield.

Rookie - A recruit or new man (from recruit).

Rondins -  Cut tree-trunks used in the construction of corduroy roads.

RSM -  Regimental Sergeant Major. Senior NCO in regiment.

RTO -  Railway Transport Officer.

RTU - Returned to unit. Fate of failures in specialist courses.

Runner -  Carrier of messages by hand when other means of communication was not available. Often had high casualty rate.

Russian Sap - Narrow trench dug like a mine-shaft so that the surface of the earth was not disturbed. A sap trench helped raiders to approach enemy lines without being detected.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 04 September 2008 09:28 )

Great War Terms used by the British - A

Armed Boarding Vessel - Civilian ship armed and taken into the navy.

Ack Ack - Anti-aircraft (artillery).

Ack Emma - a.m. (midnight to noon).

Adrian helmet - French army standard issue steel helmet post-1916. Named after the designer.

Advanced Dressing Station : The most advanced medical post behind the Regimental Aid Post.

AEF - American Expeditionary Force.

A-frame - Inverted A-shaped wooden frame to support duckboards.

ALH - Australian Light Horse.

Alleyman : British slang for a German soldier.

Alpini -  Italian Alpine troops specialising in mountain warfare.

Amiens Hut : Temporary structure of canvas on a frame used at British base camps.

Ammo-boot - Ammunition boot - British standard issue ankle boot.

ANZAC - Australian (and) New Zealand Army Corps.

AOC - Army Ordnance Corps.

AP -  Medical Aid Post.

Archie -  Anti-aircraft fire.

Armlet -  Armband signifying special function e.g. Instructor.

ASC -  Army Service Corps.

AVC -  Army Veterinary Corps.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 04 September 2008 09:27 )

Great War Terms used by the British - B

Bangalore torpedo -  Long explosive charge for clearing barbed-wire.

Bantam battalions -  British and Canadian units, principally manned by shorter statured men - 5'1" and 5'4"; formerly ineligible to serve.

Bantam - Term for members of battalions between 5ft 1in and 5ft 4in.

Banquette British - A raised way or fire-step along the inside of a trench . Allowed soldiers inside a trench to step up and fire their rifles then step back down to avoid return fire.

Barrage -  Bombardment by artillery.

Battery : A group of six guns or howitzers.

Battle bowler -  British steel helmet.

Battle order -  Reduced webbing and a haversack for action.

Battle Police : Military police deployed behind an attack to interpret stragglers.

BEF -  British Expeditionary Force - initially only 4 Divisions.

Bellied - A term used when a tank's underside was caught upon an obstacle so high that its tracks could not grip the earth.

Berm -  Storage place in the parapet of a trench.

BGRA and BGRE -  Brigadier Generals of Royal Artillery and Engineers.

Biff -  Bristol fighter aircraft.

Big Bertha -  German 42cm Morser heavy gun successfully used to bombard and reduce the French and Belgian forts in 1914. Later, any large calibre artillery.

Billy - Australian nickname for a cooking-pot or can.

Bivvy -  Bivouac: initially a tent, but later any shelter or dug-out.

Black Hand Gang : Slang for a raiding party on a difficult mission.

Blanco -  Paste used to whiten webbing - khaki blanco was also widely used.

Blighty -  Home - Britain. Hence - 'Blighty Wound'.

Blimp -  Airship or balloon. Later, officious senior officer.

Blue Cross I & II -  German toxic gas: diphenylchloroarsine - sternutator(sneezing/vomiting) type. Containers were marked withblue crosses.

Body-snatcher - a British - a stretcher bearer.  Also, a member of a raiding party (required to bring back prisoners for information)

Boche -  German Army; originally coined by French Army.

Bombardier - A Royal Artillery corporal.

Bomber  Infantry-man specialising in the use of hand-grenades.

Bombproof -  Protective against shrapnel and shell-fragments.

Box-barrage -  Intense bombardment of restricted area.

Bracket -  To fire shells around target to find exact range.

Brass(hat) -  High ranking staff officers. From the gold braid worn on the peak of their hats and other parts of their uniform.

Brassard -  Armband.

Brigade -  Next sized unit after the Battalion. Comprised of a variable number of Regiments and their support services - about 3,000 men.

British warm -  British officer's heavy woollen khaki, or brown, greatcoat.Usually just below knee-length.

Brodie helmet British - (1915) The famous "soup-bowl" helmet. Upgraded to the Mark I version in 1916. Used by US and Portuguese troops also. Named for its inventor, John L. Brodie.

Buckshee - Something for free or surplus to needs.

Bullring -  Behind-the-lines training camp for new arrivals. Also for convalescent soldiers to prepare for (and encourage) a speedy return to duty. Especially at Etaples, France.

Bully - Canned corned beef. Also known as bully beef.

Bundook - Rifle.

Button stick -  Slotted brass sheet used for polishing the brass buttons on serviceman's uniform without damaging the cloth.

Buzzer - A electric device used for Morse code.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 04 September 2008 09:27 )


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