Regimental Nicknames

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by Gerry Chester, Oct 31, 2004.

  1. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    While building details of the many infantry regiments, supported by the North Irish Horse, I noticed that several have nicknames which triggered my interest to discover why. Thus far:
    http://www.nih.ww2site.com/nih/addenda/Nicknames.html

    My favourite is the "Emperor's Chambermaids" simply because, when the North Irish Horse disbanded in July 1946, I spent the last few months in the Army with the 14th/20th King's Hussars.

    I would appreciate receiving any additions to the British list that Forum members may know. Nicknames of Commonwealth and US units will be eventually included.
     
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  2. DirtyDick

    DirtyDick Senior Member

    The Tigers: the Royal Hampshire Regiment. Believe this was due to the Tiger on capbadge, which I've heard was symbolic of their long service in India.

    The Squidgies: The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (ex-Hamps and Queens), due to a term of affection used in one 'of those telephone calls' by/to descibe Diana.
     
  3. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    What about divisions, too?

    The 78th was always called 'Churchill's Butchers' because of their battle flash.
     
  4. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    IN no other calling in life are nicknames so universally used as they are in the Army, and this use embraces everything from the regiment down to the individual soldier and the articles of his diet.

    In the first place, there is no regiment in the British Army without its nickname, or indeed, two or three of them, and in many cases, telling as they do of deeds of valour, they are more highly prized than the official title.
    Speaking generally, such names will be found to fall into some six classes, of which the first is what may be called " Dress," having been bestowed for some characteristic feature in the uniform of the unit. Thus the llth Hussars, who alone in the Army wear crimson overalls, are known as the " Cherubims," the 13th Hussars as the " Lilly-whites," on account of their white collars and white striped overalls, and also as the " Geraniums," from the smart dress of the officers and men, while from their scarlet tunic and cap the 16th Lancers are often called the " Scarlet Lancers.'' The titles of the " Sweeps" and the " Tin Bellies," given respectively to the 60th Rifles and the Life Guards, need no explanation, while the Gloucesters are de¬nominated the " Back Numbers," in consequence of the fact that they wear their regimental badge on both the front and back of their cap to com¬memorate their bravery at Alexandria in 1801, when, attacked rear and front, they fought back to back. Other units also in the same class are the Military Police, who owing to their red-topped caps are known as the " Redcaps," the Royal Horse Artillery, who on account of their full dress being the same as that of the Hussar regiments, are known as the " Four-wheeled Hussars," and the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, who from the peculiar red and white piping of their braid are called the " Sugar Stick Brigade."
    The second, which might be called the " Place " class, includes regiments that have taken their names from the locality with which they have at some time been connected or that to which they are attached. Thus the Royal Berks, with a depot in Reading, are known as the " Biscuit Boys," the Queen's Regiment, from the fact that they were originally raised for the defence of Tangiers, are known as the " Tangerines," the Lincoln Regiment us the " Lincoln Poachers," the Sherwood Foresters as the "Nottingham Hosiers," the Border Regiment, very unkindly as the " Cattle Reeves," and, following the old story of the Wiltshire country¬men, who raked a pond in an endeavour to drag out the reflection of the moon, the Wiltshire Regiment are known as the " Moonrakers."
    A third class takes its nicknames from the number of the regiment before it was given a territorial designation. Thus the Suffolks, once the 12th Foot, are known as the " Old Dozen," the King's Shropshire Light Infantry, once the 53rd Foot, as the "Five and Threepennies," the West Riding Regiment, once the 76th Foot, as the " Old Seven and Sixpennies," the Essex Regiment, for¬merly the 44th, as the " Fighting Fours," the Northumberland Fusiliers, once the 5th Foot, as I lie "Fighting Fifth," the East Lancashire Regiment, (30th Foot) as the "Triple X," the Welch Regiment, once the 69th, as the " lips and Downs," mid the Leinster Regiment (100th Foot) as the "Old Hundredth."

    Another class, confined to corps and depart¬ments, takes its nicknames from its occupation. Thus the Royal Army Service Corps arc known as "Ally Slooper’s Cavalry," the Royal Engineers as the "Flying Bricklayers " and the "Mudlarks," the Royal Army Pay Corps as the " Ink Slingers " and the " Quill Drivers," while the Royal Army Medical Corps delight in no fewer than five, "Castor Oil Dragoons," " Linseed Lancers," the " Poultice Wallopers," and, from their initials, " Run away, Matron's coming," and " Rob all my comrades."

    The fifth class, the most numerous, and, perhaps, the class in which the names are most highly prized, embraces those cases where nicknames have been given for some distinguished performance on the part of the regiment. Thus the Royal Munster Fusiliers were called the M Dirty Shirts," to com¬memorate their gallant fight in shirt-sleeves at Delhi in 1857. The 9th Lancers, also, are known as the " Delhi Spearmen," to commemorate a gallant charge at the same battle. Proud indeed are the Buffs of their nickname, the " Nut¬crackers," given them for their prowess in crack¬ing the enemies' heads. The same regiment are also sometimes called the " Resurrectionists," a title given them at the battle of Albuera, where, after being dispersed by the Polish Lancers, they reformed again very quickly.

    Other examples are the " Supple Twelfth," a title given to the 12th Lancers for their gallant conduct at the battle of Salamanca and their dash and rapidity in action; the " Springers," gained by the Lincoln Regiment during the American War for their readiness for action; the " Bird Catchers," bestowed on the 1st Dragoons for their capture of a French Eagle at Waterloo; and the " Dirty Half Hundred," the highly prized nickname of the Royal West Kent Regiment (o»ce the 50th Foot), and given from the fact that piping their faces during the heat of action with their black cuffs their appearance was not exactly spick and span. Best known, perhaps, of all this class is that of the Middlesex Regiment, the “Die Hards," taken from the words of their colonel at the battle of Albuera, " Die hard, my men, die hard."

    The last class might be called the miscellaneous one, and includes such titles as the "Patent Safeties," given to the Life Guards in consequence of their cuirasses; the " Mutton Lancers," bestowed on the Queen's Regiment in view of the fact that their crest is the Pascbal Lamb and flag; the "Nanny Goats," imposed on the Royal Welch Fusiliers in consequence of their custom of keep¬ing a regimental goat; the "All Very Cushy" of the Army Veterinary Corps, and " Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard," the proud nickname of the Royal Scots, the premier regiment of Foot, whose boast it is that they are descended from the guard who were on duty on the night of the Crucifixion.

    A humourous nickname in the same class is that of the Highland Light Infantry, who are known as the " Pig and Whistle Light Infantry," an allusion to the elephant and hunting horn on their badge.
    Banks and appointments in the Army have also fixed nicknames. Thus the quartermaster-sergeant is always known as the " quarter bloke," the bandsman as a " wind jammer," the drummer as " sticks," the cook as " bobajee," the chaplain as the " padre," the " sky pilot" or " Holy Joe," the orderly man as " Buff stick " and a second lieu¬tenant as the "Lone Star."
    Food and clothing of all descriptions also flourish under quaint aliases. Thus weak tea is " all arms and legs," meat pudding goes under the disguise of " baby's head," milk is " dooly" (a French adaptation from the late war), "floaters" are dumplings in a stew, "mur" (back slang) is rum, " grub stakes," the man's individual share of rations, " slingers," tea or coffee with bread soaked in it, " suds," ale, " shackles," soup or stew, while " sergeant-major's tea" is tea with sugar, milk and a small dash of rum.

    In the same way a " flesher " describes a shirt, as also does the term " greyback "; the bayonet is a "winkle pin," the horse is the "long-faced chum," " clobber " is uniform generally, while to be in marching order is described as " Christmas Tree order."
    Other quaint cognomens are " Angel's whisper " by which is meant the defaulter's call, " bosom chums " or otherwise vermin, the " bun strangler " or the teetotaler, the " hutch " or the guard-room, " on the high jump " or brought up for some mili¬tary crime, and the " band party " or members of the Church of England.
    Another peculiar feature of this army nomencla¬ture is that certain surnames always carry with them fixed nicknames. Thus if a man named Clark enters the Army, it is perfectly certain that he will at once be given the cognomen of Nobby, and if he is Walker he must be content for the rest of his army career to be known as Hookey.
    The following is a list of the most common examples of this

    Surname Nickname

    Clark(e) Nobby.
    Miller Dusty
    Rhodes Dusty
    Smith Teabread, Teacake, or Ginger
    Murphy Spud or Peeler
    Hutchings or Rabbit
    Hutchinson
    Green Dodger
    Wood Timber
    White Sweeper, Knocker, or Blanco
    O’Donnell Con.
    Hicks Digger
    Reynolds Fox
    Carver Ned
    Martin Pincher or Tubby
    Brown Topper or Sandy.
    Peace Charley.
    Jones Jonah or Taffy.
    Robins Cock.
    Wright Lefty.
    Baker Doughy.
    Broke Monty.
    Davis Taff.
    Collins Lottie.
    Wilson Tug.
    Bird Dickey.
    Walker Hookey or Johnnie.
    Carpenter Chippy.


    Taken from Humour in the Army" By John Aye PP99-106 1931.
     
  5. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    What about divisions, too?

    There is the story from the Normandy Campaign were a British Div was alongside an American Div.

    The British Commander on a visit to his neighbours saw that their Motto – Second to none - was proudly paraded on a massive sign outside the DHQ.

    On his return the British Commander ordered that a sign be placed outside his Hq which just bore the one word – None.
    :D :D
     
  6. BeppoSapone

    BeppoSapone Senior Member

    Originally posted by Paul Reed@Oct 31 2004, 02:54 PM
    What about divisions, too?

    The 78th was always called 'Churchill's Butchers' because of their battle flash.
    [post=29032]Quoted post[/post]

    Here are a few off the top of my head.

    One source calls the 49th (West Riding) Division "The Butcher Bears".

    The 51st Highland Division was known as the "Highway Decorators" because of their habit of leaving lots and lots of signs as pointers.

    RASC - Run Away Someones Coming
    RAMC - Rob All My Comrades
    LDV - Local Defence Volunteers (Home Guard) - Look Duck and Vanish
    BEF - Back Every Friday
    BWEF - Burma When Europes Finished
    BLA - Burma Looms Ahead
    ENSA - Every Night Something Awful
    NAAFI - No Ambition And Fuck All Initiative - I know it doesn't fit!

    etc
    etc
     
  7. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    RASC - Run Away Someones Coming
    RAMC - Rob All My Comrades
    LDV - Local Defence Volunteers (Home Guard) - Look Duck and Vanish
    BEF - Back Every Friday
    BWEF - Burma When Europes Finished
    BLA - Burma Looms Ahead
    ENSA - Every Night Something Awful
    NAAFI - No Ambition And Fuck All Initiative - I know it doesn't fit!

    RCT - Rough Cut Timber
    ASH - Agile and Suffering Highlanders
     
  8. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Thank you folks, your input is appreciated. Like Topsy-Turvy, the list grows larger and larger!
    Originally posted by Paul+-->(Paul)</div><div class='quotemain'>What about divisions, too?
    The 78th was always called 'Churchill's Butchers' because of their battle flash.
    [/b]
    Divisions yes - it should have been part of the topic title - the 7th Armoured is already listed.
    I heard the Battleaxe Division being called "Churchill's Choppers" whatever, it did a magnificent job in Tunisia and Italy.
    <!--QuoteBegin-Morse
    The British Commander on a visit to his neighbours saw that their Motto – Second to none - was proudly paraded on a massive sign outside the DHQ.
    On his return the British Commander ordered that a sign be placed outside his Hq which just bore the one word – None.
    "Indianhead" 2nd Division?
     
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  9. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    The 2nd Division was and is "Second to None." I know the Devons and Dorsets say they are "Death and Destruction," while their buddies say they are "Daft and Dozy." The 43rd Wessex were the "Wessex Wyverns," the 49th were "Monty's Polar Bears," the 51st were "Monty's Highlanders," and the 11th Armoured was the "Black Bull."
     
  10. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Originally posted by Kiwiwriter
    The 2nd Division was and is "Second to None." I know the Devons and Dorsets say they are "Death and Destruction," while their buddies say they are "Daft and Dozy." The 43rd Wessex were the "Wessex Wyverns," the 49th were "Monty's Polar Bears," the 51st were "Monty's Highlanders," and the 11th Armoured was the "Black Bull."


    Thank you Kiwi. Perchance, do you know any for the Anzac forces?

    Gerry
     
  11. BeppoSapone

    BeppoSapone Senior Member

    Here are a few more, off the top of my head. I am sure that lots of these Infantry regiments have several nicknames:

    Royal Scots - Pontius Pilats Bodyguard
    Queens - Kirk's Lambs or the Mutton Lancers
    Norfolk Regiment - The Holy Boys
    Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders - The Thin Red Line
    Seaforth Highlanders - Silver Streak-ed Seaforths
    Black Watch - Forty Twa
    Gordon Highlanders - Gay Gordons
    Highland Light Infantry - Hells Last Issue or the 'Glesga K-' something Scottish starting with K.
    Middlesex Regiment - Diehards or, in WW2 at least "Heinz" - 57 Foot & Variety
    Essex Regiment - Pompadours
    Hampshire Regiment - Tigers and, after 1943, the "Tebourba Tigers"
    Coldstream Guards - The Coleys
    Irish Guards - The Micks
    Scots Guards - The Kiddies
     
  12. BeppoSapone

    BeppoSapone Senior Member

    [/quote]

    Thank you Kiwi. Perchance, do you know any for the Anzac forces?

    Gerry
    [post=29065]Quoted post[/post]
    [/quote]

    The 2AIF used to call the home service 'Militia' soldiers "Chocos" - short for "Chocolate Soldiers".

    CASF volunteers called the home service only Canadian soldiers "Zombies".
     
  13. Columba Coyle

    Columba Coyle Junior Member

    The Royal Irish Fusiliers were the Faughs, from their Gaelic motto Faugh A Ballagh (Clear the Way), The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were the Skins and The Royal Ulster Rifles the Stickies. All three amalgamated in 1968 to form The Royal Irish Rangers. In turn the Rangers amalgamated with The Ulster Defence Regiment in 1992 to form a new regiment known as The Royal Irish Regiment.

    Incidentally, the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards were also known as the Skins.
     
  14. Biggles

    Biggles Member

    Hi All,

    An Excellent Book which lists British Regimental Nicknames (sometimes more than one for one regiment) is

    A Register of the Regiments and Corps of the British Army.
    The Ancestry of the Regiments and Corps of the Regular Establishment of the Army
    Edited By Arthur Swinson, Archive Military References.
    Book Published: London: The Archive Press, 1972. . Hardback. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall.

    Good Luck


    David
     
  15. BeppoSapone

    BeppoSapone Senior Member

    A humourous nickname in the same class is that of the Highland Light Infantry, who are known as the " Pig and Whistle Light Infantry," an allusion to the elephant and hunting horn on their badge.



    According to Gaylor the cap badge of the Intelligence Corps summed up the membership of that corps to other soldiers - "a pansy resting on its laurels".

    The British Army was not noted for being PC in WW2 :lol:
     
  16. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    We used to to Call members of the Royals Sigs "inteflora" boys on account of the similarity between their cap badge and the interflora sign!
     
  17. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    The Royal Anglians = Angle irons :P
     
  18. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Third British Infantry Division.
    Monty's Ironsides, the name came from the old name for the division, when it was known as the Iron Division.It became Monty's ironsides when he became Divisional commander in the early part of the war.

    I like the names that are known in the forces, but not many will beat mine, I am sad to say.

    We were dug in to the North of Caen, under a very heavy barrage of fire, to lighten the atmosphere above the din I yelled out from the safety of my slit at the top of my voice "I wish I was on holiday in Swanage" From that time on I was called "Hey! Swanage"
    Sapper
     
  19. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    I have three.

    First two nicknames current when I worked for the MOD in the 1970s:

    RAOC: Rag & Oil Company
    REME: Rough Engineering Made Easy

    And one which you can report me for if you want, but I believe it was in use in the late 1940s:

    The shoulder flash of the Berlin garrison troops was a black sphere on a red background. It was known as "the septic a...hole".
     
  20. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    Originally posted by Gerry Chester+Nov 1 2004, 01:30 PM-->(Gerry Chester @ Nov 1 2004, 01:30 PM)</div><div class='quotemain'><!--QuoteBegin-Kiwiwriter
    The 2nd Division was and is "Second to None." I know the Devons and Dorsets say they are "Death and Destruction," while their buddies say they are "Daft and Dozy." The 43rd Wessex were the "Wessex Wyverns," the 49th were "Monty's Polar Bears," the 51st were "Monty's Highlanders," and the 11th Armoured was the "Black Bull."


    Thank you Kiwi. Perchance, do you know any for the Anzac forces?

    Gerry
    [post=29065]Quoted post[/post]
    [/b] Well, the Australian and New Zealand battalions were enumerated rather than named, which made it tough for them to make plays on their identities. The Canadian regiments, being older, tracing their lineage in some cases to French Canada, had names. The only one I can remember offhand is the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, which was known as the "Hasty Puddings" or the "Hasty Puds." The 22eme Regiment, which is the French regiment of the permanent force, is the "Vingt-Doos" to this day, and Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry are the "Princess Pats." I hope that helps.
     

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