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Over The Top Arthur Guy Empey

"Tommy's Dictionary Of The Trenches"

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"Five nine." A German shell 5.9 inches in diameter. It is their standard shell. Tommy has no special love for this brand, but they are like olives, all right when you get used to them.

"Flags." Tommy's nickname for a Signaler.

Flare. A rocket fired from a pistol which, at night, lights up the ground in front of your trench.

Flare Pistol. A large pistol, which looks like a sawed-off shotgun, from which flares are fired. When you need this pistol badly it has generally been left in your dugout.

Flying Column. A flying column of troops that waits from one point of the line to another. In case of need they usually arrive at the wrong point.

Fokker. A type of German aeroplane which the Boche claims to be the fastest in the world. Tommy believes this, because our airmen seldom catch them.

"For It." On the crime sheet; up against a reprimand; on trial, in trouble.

"Four by two." A piece of flannel four Inches by two issued by the Q. M. Sergeant with which to "pull through."

"Four point five." Another of ours. The Germans don't like this one.

"Four point seven." One of our shells 4.7 inches in diameter. Tommy likes this kind.

"Fritz." Tommy's name for a German. He loves a German like poison.

Front Line. The nearest trench to the enemy. No place for a conscientious objector.

Frostbite. A quick road to Blighty, which Tommy used very often until frostbite became a court-martial offence. Now he keeps his feet warm.

"Full pack." A soldier carrying all of his equipment.

Full Corporal. A N.C.O. who sports two stripes on his arm and has more to say than the Colonel.

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Fumigator. An infernal device at a hospital which cooks Tommy's uniform and returns it to him two sizes too small.

"Funk Hole." Tommy's term for a dugout. A favorite spot for those of a nervous disposition.

Fuse. A part of shell or bomb which burns in a set time and ignites the detonator.


Gas. Poisonous fumes which the Germans send over to our trenches. When the wind is favorable this gas is discharged into the air from huge cylinders. The wind carries it over toward our lines. It appears like a huge yellowish-green cloud rolling along the ground. The alarm is sounded and Tommy promptly puts on his gas helmet and laughs at the Boches.

Gas Gong. An empty shell case hung up in the trenches and in billets. A sentry is posted near it, so that in case German poison gas comes over, he can give the alarm by striking this gong with an iron bar. If the sentry happens to be asleep we get "gassed."

"Gassed." A soldier who has been overcome from the fumes of German poison gas, or the hot air of a comrade.

"Gassing." A term Tommy applies to "shooting the bull."

"Getting a sub." Touching an officer for money. To be taken out of soldier's pay on the next pay-day.

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