The home of the Lonsdale Battalion and the Border Regiment in the First World War
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Tommy is derived from the name Tommy Atkins. It was established in 1815, the year of Waterloo, when the War Office issued the first "Soldier's Account Book,"[1] however, there is debate over earlier origins. In this case, the name Tommy went on to become synonymous with that of a common soldier in the British Army, particularly during the First World War and typically as form of address.[2] For example, Tommy (singular) was used by German soldiers whilst shouting across No Man's Land when they wanted to speak to a British soldier, or "Tommies" (plural), used as a form of address by French and Commonwealth troops.[2] The full term "Tommy Atkins" has mostly fallen out of use in favour of the still preferred and abridged version, "Tommy," which is widely understood to this day as a result of, but not exclusively so, it's depiction in popular dramatisations and written media.

References / notes[edit]

  1. Edward Fraser and John Gibbons (1925). Soldier and Sailor Words and Phrases. Routledge, London p. 287.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Tommy Atkins. Wikipedia: The free encyclopaedia. Accessed 26 February, 2017.

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