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The Great War

The Tommy's Tongue

Return to Vocabulary Index

A - Ack

Turk: individual or collective.
About Turn:
Hèbuterne. French village in the Pas de Calais.
Shelter or dugout. From the French.
Gas. British term applied to cylinder-discharged gas, used in orders and other communications in an effort to keep its use secret.
Ack Ack:
Anti-aircraft (AA) fire. From the military phonetic alphabet in use at the time (A = ack)
Ack Emma:
(1) Morning. AM (ante meridiem), before noon.
(2) Air Mechanic (RFC/RAF). From the phonetic alphabet.
Adrian Helmet:
French regulation helmet named after its designer.
Advanced Dressing Station:
The most advanced medical post behind the Regimental Aid Post.
Aerial Torpedo:
A finned mortar bomb dropped from an aircraft.
Ak Dum:
At once, hurry up. From Hindustani.
All Old Crocks:
Army Ordnance Corps (AOC).
Go! Clear out! Run away! From French allez.
German soldier. From French Allemagne. If you want to see your dear Fatherland, Keep your head down, Alleyman - popular trench song of 1916.
Ally Sloper's Cavalry:
Army Service Corps (ASC). From Ally Sloper, a character drawn by W F Thomas in popular pre-war papers such as Ally Sloper's Weekly. The ASC, due to their good pay, comfortable conditions and comparative safety, were regarded by the infantry as not proper soldiers at all. This also gave rise to their other sarcastic nickname, the Army Safety Corps. Also known as Aunt Sally's Cavalry. When the ASC acquired their well-earned Royal prefix in 1918, to become the RASC, their nickname was changed to Run Away, Someone's Coming!
Amiens Hut:
Temporary structure of canvas on a frame used at British base camps.
Ammo Boots:
Hob nailed boots. From ammunition boots, regulation issue.
Any More For Any More?:
An invitation shouted out by the orderly in charge of serving meals, indicating that extra portions were available to those who wanted them. Also used at the start of a gambling game such as Crown and Anchor, inviting others to join in before the start of proceedings.
Coined in 1915 from the initials of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
Anti-aircraft fire or artillery piece. From a music hall character. This morning our Archie battery reported that a machine came down last night out of control... - 2Lt Gerard Robin, 41 Squadron, RFC.
Armed Boarding Vessel:
Civilian ship armed and taken into the navy.
Armed Merchant Cruiser:
Large civilian vessel armed as auxiliary cruiser.
Cloth band worn round the arm to identify a particular duty or function.
Army Safety Corps:
Army Service Corps (ASC). See Ally Sloper's Cavalry.
Aunt Sally:
Ration truck. From one of the nicknames of the Army Service Corps (ASC). See also Ally Sloper's Cavalry.
Axle Grease: