Black Maria: An enemy shell of large calibre, from its dense black smoke on bursting. Possibly the name was suggested by the big black London Police Van. The Germans, curiously, had a similar term, "Schwarze Maria," for British heavy shells. 
References / notes
- Edward Fraser and John Gibbons (1925). Soldier and Sailor Words and Phrases. Routledge, London p.24.
Glossary of terms and customs
This page forms part of our glossary of words and phrases of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain during the Great War, which also includes: technicalities, trench slang, expressions in everyday use, nicknames, sobriquets, the titles and origins of British and Commonwealth Regiments, and warfare in general. Please feel free to help expand and improve this content.
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