Dictionary of Tommies' Song and Slang

John Brophy, Eric Partridge

Date Published :
July 2008
Publisher :
Frontline Books
Illustration :
16 pages of illustrations
No associated books available.


During the First World War the British soldiers were renowned for their chirpy songs and plucky sayings. Indeed nothing would lift the spirits of the often exhausted and demoralized troops more than a hearty sing-a-long. These cheery and at times ribald and satiric songs and sayings have been collected together to give a fascinating insight into the more lighthearted side of trench life.

The songs include marching tunes, songs for billets and rude chants for when no commanding officer was present. Each song is accompanied by a short passage that traces the origins of the
melody and accounts for lyrical alternatives. There is also a large glossary of soldiers’ slang words and phrases, revealing the Tommies’ vocabulary in all its bawdiness.

The Daily Telegraph - Dictionary of Tommies’ Song and Slang reveals the courage, gaiety and astringent cynicism with which men armed themselves against the horrors of trench warfare.

Includes 16 pages of plates illustrating the favorite comic cartoons, recruiting posters and other arresting images from the Great War.

About The Author

Born in Liverpool in 1899, JOHN BROPHY was an Anglo-Irish soldier, journalist and author who wrote more than forty books, many of which were based on his experiences during the First World War. Having lied about his age to enlist in the British Army, Brophy served for four years in the infantry before being honorably discharged in 1918. He died in 1965.

Born and brought up in New Zealand, ERIC PARTRIDGE was also a First World War veteran, having volunteered for the Australian Imperial Force in April 1915. Having gone on to become a renowned lexicographer of the English Language, he passed away in 1979.


"Brophy and Partridge&supl;s book is a true classic written by two veterans of the 1914-18 war. It stands as one of the most perceptive books ever written on the British army of the First World War, an essential starting point for understanding the men that served, and a book that yields more every time one reads it."

- Gary Sheffield, Military Illustrated

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