Jerry was the universal name used by the British and other Allied Nations throughout the latter half of the First World War, and used again extensively during the Second World War. In 1914 and 1915 the ordinary term Fritz, Boche and Alleyman were used. There was a farfetched suggestion that accounted for the adoption of "Jerry" whereby Fritz became Fitz, which in turn suggested the name Fitzgerald. That in turn was shortened to Gerald, which ultimately gave us Gerry or Jerry.[1] More plausibly however, it could simply be an alteration of the word German, or maybe it was influenced from by the Stahlhelm (German - Steel Helemet), which was introduced in 1916 and said by British soldiers to resemble a chamber pot.[2]

The German equivalent of Jerry for the British soldier was Tommy, which was also used by French and Commonwealth troops. See also Tommy Atkins.

References / notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Edward Fraser and John Gibbons (1925). Soldier and Sailor Words and Phrases. Routledge, London p.131.
  2. List of terms used for Germans. Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia. Accessed 19 March, 2017.

Glossary of words and phrases[edit source]

The above term is listed in our glossary of words and phrases of the Armed Forces of Great Britain during the Great War. Included are trench slang, service terms, expressions in everyday use, nicknames, the titles and origins of British and Commonwealth Regiments, and warfare in general. These words and phrases are contemporary to the war, which is reflected in the language used. They have been transcribed from three primary sources (see Contents). Feel free to expand upon and improve this content.
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