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Over The Top Arthur Guy Empey

"Tommy's Dictionary Of The Trenches"

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Biscuit. A concoction of flour and water, baked until very hard. Its original use was for building purposes, but Tommy is supposed to eat it. Tommy is no coward but he balks at this. Biscuits make excellent fuel, and give no smoke.

Bivouac. A term given by Tommy to a sort of tent made out of waterproof sheets.

Blastine. A high explosive which promotes Kultur in the German lines,

Blighty. An East Indian term meaning "over the seas." Tommy has adopted it as a synonym for home. He tries numerous ways of reaching Blighty, but the "powers that be" are wise to all of his attempts, so he generally fails.

"Blighty One." A wound serious enough to send Tommy to England.

B.M.G.C. Brigade Machine Gun Company, composed of Vickers machine gunners. They always put their packs on a limber or small wagon while route marching, which fact greatly arouses the Jealousy of Tommy.

"Body Snatcher." Tommy's term for a sniper.

Bomb. An infernal device filled with high explosive which you throw at the Germans. Its chief delight is to explode before it leaves your hand.

Bomb Store. A place where bombs are kept, built so the enemy cannot locate them with his fire. For that matter, Tommy can't either when he needs them.

Bombing Post. A sort of trench or sap running from your front line to within a few yards of the enemy's trench. It is occupied by bomb throwers who would like to sign an agreement with the Germans for neither side to throw bombs.

Brag. A card game similar to poker at which every player quits a loser and no one wins, that is, according to the statements of the several players.

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Brazier. A sheet iron pot punched full of holes in which a fire is built. It is used to keep Tommy warm in his dugout until he becomes unconscious from its smoke and fumes. He calls it a "fire bucket."

Brigade Guard. Several men who are detailed to guard Brigade Headquarters. They don't go to sleep.

B.S.M. Battalion Sergeant-Major. The highest ranking non-commissioned officer in the battalion. A constant dread to Tommy when he has forgotten to polish his buttons or dubbin his boots.

Bully Beef. A kind of corned beef with tin round it. The unopened cans make excellent walls for dugouts.

Burm. A narrow ledge cut along the walls of a trench to prevent earth from caving in. "Burm" to Tommy is a cuss word, because he has to "go over the top" at night to construct it.

"Busted." Term applied when a non-commissioned officer is reduced by court-martial.

Button Stick. A contrivance made of brass ten inches long which slides over the buttons and protects the tunic in cleaning.


"Called to the colors." A man on reserve who has been ordered to report for service.

"Camel Corps." Tommy's nickname for the Infantry because they look like overloaded camels, and probably because they also go eight days, and longer, without a drink, that is, of the real stuff.

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Over The Top
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