The art of abusing every regiment but your own.
Published in The Patrician (Journal of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry), Vol. IV, No. 3, October, 1937, as taken from "The Antelope" (Journal of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment) for November, 1935
The following military definitions were extracted from among the papers of the late Brig.-Gen. G.N.B. Forster, CMG, DSO, and have been contributed by his wife.
Adjutant: An officer whose duties consist in flattering the Colonel, flirting with his wife, nursing his children and swearing at the men.
Aide-de-Camp Ditto on a more extended scale.
Arrest: A very pleasant state of temporary retirement from the duties and the annoyances of the profession.
Barracks Damage: A poetical title for the rent paid by officers for their dog-holes. Battalion Drill: Agony on a large scale.
Brig.-Gen. G.N.B.Forster, DSO
George Norman Bowes Forster was born in October 1872. Educated at The United Services College, Westward Ho!, and the RMC Sandhurst. Commissioned in 1893, he joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and served in the Nile Expedition of 1898 (present at the Battles of Atbara and Khartoum) and served in the South African War from 1899 to 1902. He was Adjutant of the 1st Battalion of his regiment between 1902 and 1904.
Early in the First World War, Forster went to France with the 7th Battalion, rising in rank to command it. Wounded twice, he was also awarded the DSO. In August 1917 he was appointed to command the 42nd Infantry Brigade (part of 14th (Light) Division).
On 4 Apr 1918 his brigade HQ was overrun near Villers Bretonneux, Brig.-Gen. Forster was reported missing. Brig.-Gen. Forster has no known grave, he is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial.
Cavalry: A branch of the Service, useful in promoting the smell of stables in drawing-rooms.
Colonel: An individual with brass spurs and an exaggerated estimate of his own importance.
Company Drill: Agony on a small scale.
Court-Martial: A military tribunal in which the judges, like a bull in a china shop, have it all to themselves.
Dress (v.a): To force a given number of soldiers into one continuous straight line by means of loud vociferations and strong personal abuse.
Drill (v.a): To arrange human beings in unnatural positions and unornamental figures.
Ensign: An emancipated schoolboy.
Esprit-de-Corps: The art of abusing every regiment but your own.
Field Day: A given number of hours of misery.
General: A military biped, much addicted to long stories.
Goose-step: A painful mode of standing on one leg.
Household Troops: Gentlemen at large.
Infantry: A branch of the service, useful in macadamizing roads.
Inspection, half-yearly: An opportunity afforded by custom to soldiers of seeing a live general twice a year.
Knapsack: An ingenious contrivance invented for the purpose of exemplifying how little it is possible to get in a square box.
Leave of Absence: Gentlemanly existence, and very pleasant when you get it.
Mess: A regimental victualling establishment instituted for the purpose of placing inebrity within reach of officers of modest income.
Mufti: A description of costume worn by officers when they wish to be taken for gentlemen.
Non-commissioned officer: A person whose duty it is to furnish the captain with the words of command on field days.
Officer: An unhappy victim of delusion.
Padre: The Protestant appellation of purgatory.
Promotion: A word fallen into disuse, but used among the ancients to signify a rise from one grade to another.
Quarters (officers): Inferior sort of dog-kennels.
Recruit: A speedily to be undeceived dupe.
Roster: A fabulous list of rotation, on which you are always first for duty and last for elave.
Shop: The discussion of obnoxious topics military.
Soldier of fortune: A penniless officer.
Soldier (private): One who consents to dress himself in a grotesque costume and perform various diverting manoeuvres for a small daily stipend.
Square: A military figure formed by soldiers productive of considerable inconvenience to the toes of officers during the time of peace … and of still greater to the cavalry of the enemy in time of war.
Subaltern: An individual placed by fate in a position very inadequate to his merits.
Transport: A vessel having been condemned for pigs and cattle, is appropriated by the Admiralty for the conveyance of troops.
Unanimity: That feeling in a regiment which entitles a brother officer (however cordially you may detest him) to smack you on the back and call you a "brick" with impunity.
Uniform: A dress, only varying from a footman's livery inasmuch as you do not receive quite such high wages for wearing it.
Veteran: A man who holds your button and bores you with "Badajos."
Volunteer: A man of weak intellect.
War: A noisy and unpleasant substitute for democracy.
(Doubled): A liquor drunk by officers in hot countries.
Yard (Barrack): An enclosed space set apart for the amusement and recreation of defaulters.
Zeal: A sort of disease, formerly prevalent, but now almost obsolete.