Old Contemptibles

This historic phrase The Old Contemptibles originated with the Kaiser's address to the German Army issued at Aix la Chapelle on 19 August, 1914. The Kaiser's words were as follows: It is my Royal and Imperial command that you concentrate your energies, for the immediate present, upon one single purpose, and that is that you address all your skill, and all the valour of my soldiers, to exterminate first the treacherous English and then walk over General French's contemptible little army. The men of the Old Army, who stopped the German onset before Ypres, accepted the sneer as a title of honour, and after their practical annihilation facing the enemy, their successors of the New Army applied the name "Old Contemptibles" to them in admiring memory of their heroism.[1]

See also British Expeditionary Force.

References / notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Edward Fraser and John Gibbons (1925). Soldier and Sailor Words and Phrases. Routledge, London p.62-63.

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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