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Over The Top Arthur Guy Empey

"Tommy's Dictionary Of The Trenches"

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Convalescence. Six weeks' rest allotted to a wounded Tommy. During this time the Government is planning where they will send Tommy to be wounded a second time.

C. of E. Church of England. This is stamped on Tommy's identification disk. He has to attend church parade whether or not he wants to go to Heaven.

Cook. A soldier detailed to spoil Tommy's rations. He is generally picked because he was a blacksmith in civil life.

Cooties. Unwelcome inhabitants of Tommy's shirt.

Counter Attack. A disagreeable habit of the enemy which makes Tommy realize that after capturing a position the hardest work is to hold it.

Covering Party. A number of men detailed to lie down in front of a working party while "out in front" to prevent surprise and capture by German patrols. Tommy loves this job, I don't think!

Crater. A large circular hole in the ground made by the explosion of a mine. According to Official Communiques, Tommy always occupies a crater with great credit to himself. But sometimes the Germans get there first.

"Cricket ball." The name given to a bomb the shape and size of a cricket ball. Tommy does not use it to play cricket with.

Crime Sheet. A useless piece of paper on which is kept a record of Tommy's misdemeanors.

"Crump." A name given by Tommy to a high explosive German shell which when it bursts makes a "Crump" sort of noise.

C.S.M. Company Sergeant-Major, the head non-commissioned officer of a company, whose chief duty is to wear a crown on his arm, a couple of Boer War ribbons on his chest, and to put Tommy's name and number on the crime sheet.

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"Curtain fire." A term-applied by the artillery to a wall of shell fire on the enemy communication trenches, to prevent the bringing up of men and supplies, and also to keep our own front lines from wavering. But somehow or other men and supplies manage to leak through it.

"Cushy." Easy; comfortable; "pretty soft."


D.A.C. Divisional Ammunition Column. A collection of men, horses, and limbers, which supplies ammunition for the line and keeps Tommy awake, while in billets, with their infernal noise. They are like owls-always working at night.

D.C.M. Distinguished Conduct Medal. A piece of bronze which a soldier gets for being foolish.

D.C.P. Divisional Concert Party. An aggregation of would-be actors who inflict their talents on Tommy at half a franc per head.

Defaulter. Not an absconding cashier, but a Tommy who has been sentenced to extra pack drill for breathing while on parade or doing some other little thing like that.

"Dekko." To look; a look at something.

Detonator. A contrivance in a bomb containing fulminate of mercury, which, ignited by a fuse, explodes the charge.

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Over The Top
Arthur Guy Empey

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