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Over The Top Arthur Guy Empey

"Tommy's Dictionary Of The Trenches"

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Candle. A piece of wick surrounded by wax or tallow used for lighting purposes. One candle among six men is the general issue.

Canister. A German trench mortar shell filled with scraps of iron and nails. Tommy really has a great contempt for this little token of German affection and he uses the nails to hang his equipment on in the dugouts.

Canteen. A mess tin issued to Tommy, who, after dinner, generally forgets to wash it, and pinches his mates for tea in the evening.

"Carry on." Resume. Keep on with what you are doing. Go ahead.

"Carrying in." Machine gunners' term for taking guns, ammunition, etc., into front-line trench.

Caterpillar. Is not a bug, but the name given to a powerful engine used to haul the big guns over rough roads.

C.C.S. Casualty Clearing Station. A place where the doctors draw lots to see if Tommy is badly wounded enough to be sent to Blighty.

Chalk Pit. A white spot on a painted landscape used at the Machine Gunners' School to train would-be gunners in picking out distinctive objects in landscapes and guessing ranges.

Challenge. A question, "Who goes there?" thrown at an unknown moving object by a sentry in the darkness, who hopes that said moving object will answer, "Friend."

Char. A black poisonous brew which Tommy calls tea.

"Chevaux-de-frise." Barbed-wire defenses against cavalry.

"Chucking his weight about." Self-important. Generally applied to a newly promoted non-commissioned officer or a recruit airing his knowledge.

Chum. An endearing word used by Tommy to his mate when he wants to borrow something or have a favor done.

"Clicked it." Got killed; up against it; wounded.

"Clock." "Trench" for the face.

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"Coal Box." The nickname for a high explosive German shell fired from a 5.9 howitzer which emits a heavy black smoke and makes Tommy's hair stand on end.

Coal Fatigue. A detail on which Tommy has to ride in a limber and fill two sacks with coal. It takes him exactly four hours to do this. He always misses morning parade, but manages to get back in time for dinner.

"Cole." Tommy's nickname for a penny. It buys one glass of French beer.

"Coming it." Trying to "put something over."

"Coming the add." Boasting; lying about something.

Communication Trench. A zigzag ditch leading from the rear to the front-line trench, through which reinforcements, reliefs, ammunition, and rations are brought up. Its real use is to teach Tommy how to swear and how to wade through mud up to his knees.

Communique. An official report which is published daily by the different warring governments for the purpose of kidding the public. They don't kid Tommy.

Company Stores. The Quartermaster-Sergeant's headquarters where stores are kept. A general hang-out for batmen, officers' servants, and N.C.O.'s.

"Compray." Tommy's French for "Do you understand?" Universally used in the trenches.

Conscript. A man who tried to wait until the war was over before volunteering for the army, but was balked by the Government.

"Consolidate captured line." Digging in or preparing a captured position for defence against a counter-attack.

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Over The Top
Arthur Guy Empey

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