British veterans of the First World War often commented on the obscene language and blasphemy they experienced in the army. This talk will examine the extent to which this reputation was deserved. It will also seek to explore how and why soldiers turned to swearing and obscene language as a way of expressing their feelings. It will ask to what extent the original, pre-war regulars taught their volunteer and conscript comrades to swear, or whether it might even have been the other way round, and whether soldiers managed their language and imagery so suit different audiences.
WARNING: THERE IS A LOT OF SWEARING IN THIS TALK!