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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a jewel
This book is a jewel

I remember when I was at primary school in the mid fifties that I heard and knew Mademoiselle from Armentiers. It is interesting because it is a first world war song not even from the second world war which had only finished ten years before. I knew it was rude but did not know why.It was the Inky Pinky Parley Vous bit that fascinated...
Published on 27 Dec 2010 by Peter Wade

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I did not ask for a history lesson
Dictionary of tommies songs spends most of the book with anything less than songs the few songs what are in it

i expected a book full of world war one/ two songs not a history letter with 10% songs
Published 20 months ago by margaret1956


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a jewel, 27 Dec 2010
By 
Peter Wade (Colchester England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Daily Telegraph Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang 1914-18 (Hardcover)
This book is a jewel

I remember when I was at primary school in the mid fifties that I heard and knew Mademoiselle from Armentiers. It is interesting because it is a first world war song not even from the second world war which had only finished ten years before. I knew it was rude but did not know why.It was the Inky Pinky Parley Vous bit that fascinated me

This book according to the foreword was first published in 1930 and again in 1965.

It is broken down into soldiers' songs,soldiers' slang and music from the music hall,chants and sayings
I first went to the battlefields in1990 but I had wanted to go for a long time before that. Visited Ypres, Poperinge the Somme etc. I then understood the first world war as it was a very static war.

The literature and songs of the first world war is very varied and the book describes it as a literary war with all the poets and writers. I have followed the life of Edmund Blunden buried in Long Melford churchyard in Suffolk and a good friend of Siegfried Sassoon.

The more I study it the more I understand about the language my mother and father used as they were using snatches of music hall songs and sayings that went back to the first world war. My mother for instance would use expressions like He would be better of in a home which comes from the words of a song.

My father was in the RAF so lot of military expressions were used in our house and a lot are still in the English language.

If you are interested in language, British history or the first world war this book is must.

If there is a criticism and I keep repeating this one. There is no index. Every serious non fiction book should have an index so you can look things up quickly. They are very easy to produce these days with a dictating machine and software that puts lists in alphabetical order. It is used to be a specialised art but not any more.

I am a great fan of Of what a lovely war which contains a great slew of first world war songs.

I will finish with the opening words and also the title of this review. This book is a jewel
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trawling for Fish: A Historian's tool to encode soldiers' past mutterings, 28 Oct 2012
This review is from: The Daily Telegraph Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang 1914-18 (Hardcover)
The first industrial war where masses of people fought and gave their lives for just causes still attracts much interest everywhere. On the 90th anniversary of the Armistice for the majority of nations in November 1918 Pen & Sword reissued John Brophy & the great Eric Partridge's Dictionary of Tommies' Songs & Slang, 1914-18 for the fourth time (last seen in 1964), on this occasion with an introduction by Malcolm Brown and with the added acknowledgement of The Daily Telegraph.

Brown contextualizes both the creators and their pioneering offering in terms of the butchery of the Great War, the choice of the songs selected (and thus excluded) for what they meant to Brophy and Partridge, and how the conflict was seen in the 1960s with the advent of the Richard Attenborough's film Oh What a Lovely War (1969), and in Alan Clark's The Donkeys The Donkeys. Brown neither comments on the strengths or weaknesses of the film, nor judges it in the light of later studies and biographies of the generals, and in particular on FM Douglas Haig Haig: A Re-appraisal 80 Years on, or to the many prevalent myths of the war The Myth Of The Great War: A New Military History of World War I, continually replayed in Richard Curtis and Ben Elton's Black Adder Goes Forth (1989).

The songs are voices of people from below, with the "inky-pinky parlez-vous" in Mademoiselle from Armentières having a direct cultural and linguistic link with Elizabethan "Hey Nonny Nonny noes". They are safety valves against "going Doolally" making fun of the unjokeable, in order to survive. Unlike the belief in bonding within a unit, they place the individual first in importance in the survival rankings over his mates -ie The Bells of Hell go-ting-a-ling-a ling / For you but not for me (The Bells of Hell p. 48). Readers interested in a wider selection of songs including the patriotic ones, such as Tipperary, should see Max Arthur's When this Bloody War is Over with the excellent introduction by Lyn Macdonald.

The Dictionary / Glossary contains 1634 items - individual words, phrases, and abbreviations,
across 135 pages. They consist of words first adopted by the Regular Army adopted from Hindi - Artsy (meaning slow) and Jeldi its opposite, Char (tea), Tap (fever), as well as Blighty (a corruption of Bilaik); Arabic - Bint (woman), Imshi (go away), Iggry (hurry up!), and Anglicised French or "Froggy" - "San Fairy Ann" (ça ne fait rien), "Umpty-poo" (a little more as in un petit peu), also with Anglicised place names such as Wipers or Ips for Ypres, or Mespot for Mesopotamia where the Armies of the British Empire were stationed. They venture from technical words: bracketing, registering, and taped, used by the artillery; the official and not so official names for weapons: Big Bertha, Emma, Whizz bang, Flammenwerfer, (German), Asiatic Annie (Turkish), Archie, Billy Wells - after the boxer, Stokes, the three-o-three, elephant, football, and the woolly bear.

The majority are normal words that are transformed or familiarised into a friendlier amusing environment, often appearing as a typical English, controlled understatement: the bayonet became the tooth-pick, the toasting fork, or a winkle-pin; the German hand grenade germinated into a "toad" or a "potato-masher" from their shapes, the German trench mortar bloomed into the "toffee apple", resembling the skewer. There are even a few of what linguists call language "fillers": such as Oojah, short for oojah-cum-pivvy - the military version of the "thingumabob" made famous by Gracie Fields on the production line worker in 1942 during the subsequent World War.

Readers will realise not to confuse a three-o-three (rifle) with the six-o-six, the cure for "Phyllis" or syphilis, or with a six by four (size of paper used in toilets); they will learn who was O' Grady or Mutt & Jeff; what to "do a Paddy Doyle" meant; when someone was "zig-zag" or "NBG"; when to do a Madelon and with who; what was the "kibosh" which Belgium was supposed to have put on the Kaiser in October 1914; how "latrine rumour" spread; who in the German Army was "Old One O'Clock"; the use of the "owl" in the trenches; how one was to be awarded the "Turkish Medal" in Egypt or Syria; and, finally, where to be found when "gone trumpet cleaning".

Those persons who navigate from the pages of The Guardian and suffer from acute symptoms of politically correct-itus should realize that one is facing a different epoch. The presence of "Froggy", of "Gerry","Goody-la", "Johnny", or "Pork and Beans", indeed of "Mick", did not themselves necessary demonstrate hatred or disrespect; it was part and parcel of what was known and within the rules of games, like cricket, in society as decided by the "brass hats". Their inclusion is part of history, and presents changes in the use or mis-use of language as slang, including sociolects into accepted or unaccepted use in polite conversation.

Brophy and Partridge had to admit when they first produced the first edition in 1930 many songs containing coarse vulgar words or expressions had to be blacked out or more precisely whitened, while by 1964 they were admissible, soon to feature even on air. The "Four-letter man", for example, never contained the "f" word, but was considered an uncouth "s____".

Such a work has been described as a "jewel" by one other. Although the items and explanations are far from being complete: the term charger was only given as the metal clip of five rounds, and not the horse used by the Cavalry Corps, it is valuable, because it was an original pioneering work. However, I prefer to depict it as a key to a map to trawl for fish or to unearth past hidden treasures. A good historian, aided by this map, can encode much more out of the language of the time to understand the hidden half comments and mutterings of Tommies in their flooded trenches. From this, others may easily spot terms used in TV programmes appearing fifty years before time. I recall the music of Waltzing Matilda being used in one episode of Upstairs Downstairs well before it was in fact familiar in the UK. Students, historians, and general readers will also get a lot of fun and chuckles, too.

The last saying is an appropriate curtain to the collection:

Dear Mother,
The Army's a bugger: sell the pig and buy me out.
Your loving son John

Dear John,
Pig's gone: soldier on!

A valuable "keepsake" or "souvenir" to a lost age - important as with the death of each generation the next loses something of its national heritage.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful background to the time, 19 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Daily Telegraph Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang 1914-18 (Hardcover)
Nothing much new here but a good all-round flavour of the war period. I knew the slang but it helped explain some lyrics to my wife! I was bought to supplement our study of the war and our family's deceased soldiers. It provided the lyrics to songs I heard my grandfather sing, some of which were not available in other similar publications.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My Dad used to sing all these songs, although ..., 12 July 2014
By 
J. C. CRONIN (UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Daily Telegraph Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang 1914-18 (Hardcover)
My Dad used to sing all these songs, although he wasn't in the First World War, but the Second. I now know them all off by heart!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 1 July 2014
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This review is from: The Daily Telegraph Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang 1914-18 (Hardcover)
Really interesting
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5.0 out of 5 stars Songs and meaning of words but no music., 12 Feb 2014
By 
D. Kingsleigh-smith "Rose" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Daily Telegraph Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang 1914-18 (Hardcover)
Delivered a day earlier than expected so very good. Book is informative and useful about the First World War, however what I really wish to buy is a book of songs and their music to do with the war and time surrounding it . Reason being that our community choir wish to take part in a celebration of brave people and to remember all those who lost their lives to appreciate how lucky we are and what war does to scar lives for ever.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a worthwhile contribution, 29 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Daily Telegraph Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang 1914-18 (Hardcover)
Soldiers songs are puerile, sexist and cruel, but they are also the unexpurgated views of the common man in combat. They are folk history and a real insight into the perspective of those male teenagers we sent out to kill for us. This is especially true of the Great War and this book, heavily bowdlerised as it is (well it was the Daily Telegraph that spawned it), is a faithful and reasonable contemporaneous record. There are better, more accurate and less squeamish sources to this vital history of what was in the tummies’ minds as they slogged along the dusty roads of northern France a century ago, but this is at least an available reference and, as such, to be recommended to us few students of the vernacular life of the lost generation.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I did not ask for a history lesson, 20 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Daily Telegraph Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang 1914-18 (Hardcover)
Dictionary of tommies songs spends most of the book with anything less than songs the few songs what are in it

i expected a book full of world war one/ two songs not a history letter with 10% songs
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dictionary of Tiommies Songs, 23 Dec 2010
By 
M. SHARPE "mo sharpe" (Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Daily Telegraph Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang 1914-18 (Hardcover)
Since my husband plays a lot of world war songs when he plays in the remembrance day parade I am hoping that he will find this very interesting.
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The Daily Telegraph Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang 1914-18
The Daily Telegraph Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang 1914-18 by Eric Partridge (Hardcover - 16 Feb 2008)
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