Before being accepted into the army during the Great War, new recruits had to pass strict medical exams. Medical officers would assign each man a letter and number that indicated his suitability to join.
|A.... Able to march, see to shoot, hear well and stand active service
Al .... Fit for dispatching overseas, as regards physical and mental
health, and training
A2.... As Al, except for training
A3.... Returned Expeditionary Force men, ready except for physical
A4.... Men under 19 who would be Al or A2 when aged 19
|B.... Free from serious organic diseases, able to stand service on lines of
communication in France, or in garrisons in the tropics.
Bl.... Able to march 5 miles, see to shoot with glasses, and hear well
B2.... Able to walk 5 miles, see and hear sufficiently for ordinary
B3.... Only suitable for sedentary work
|C.... Free from serious organic diseases, able to stand service in garrisons
Cl.... Able to march 5 miles, see to shoot with glasses, and hear well
C2.... Able to walk 5 miles, see and hear sufficiently for ordinary
C3.... Only suitable for sedentary work
|D.... Unfit but could be fit within 6 months.
Dl.... Regular RA,RE, infantry in Command Depots
D2.... Regular RA,RE, infantry in Regimental Depots
D3.... Men in any depot or unit awaiting treatment
How wide is your chest?
- minimum requirement 33.5 inches,
with an expansion of 2 inches.
How is your heart?
Can you see and hear well?
How are your teeth?
What is your weight?
How are your feet?
- flat feet not allowed!
How tall are you? Minimum requirement 5’3”
Soldiers living together in the trenches developed a language all their own to describe their shared experiences and conditions — something referred to as trench slang. We still use some of these words and phrases today.
|A blighty one||Wound that sent someone home for good|
|Bully or Bully Beef||Canned meat|
|Blighty/old Blighty||British or Britain “old Blighty”|
|Caught a Packet||Killed|
|Copping a packet||Killed|
|Cubby hole||Foxhole or a tiny dugout|
|Chit||A written message|
|Cushy||Places away from shelling or attacks (cushy jobs, cushy trenches)|
|Dud||A shell that fails to explode|
|Gone to blighty||Gone to England for leave|
|Having a doss/kip||Sleep|
|Holy Joe||Military Chaplain|
|Hop the Bags||Going over the top|
|Hun||A German soldier|
Emergency food (tin of bully beef, hard biscuits,
To wander aimlessly (originally referred to the
|Narpoo (or ‘napoo’)||Finished or dead|
|No man’s land||Land between lines of opposing trenches|
|Over the Top||Climbing over sandbags in front of a trench for an attack|
|Pear drops||Poison gas|
|Scarper||To run away|
|Shrapnel||Flying splinters from high-explosive shells|
|Sniper||Specialist marksmen or “sharpshooters”|
|Tank||Armoured fighting vehicle|
|Tommy||British or Canadian soldier|
|Up against it||In trouble|
|Whizz-bangs||Fast approaching shells; also hastily written and posted letters|
|Wooden overcoat||A coffin|
How did soldiers prepare for battle during the Great War?
During basic training, U of S recruits took part in drills that were designed to improve physical fitness, teach core military skills, and instil discipline.
Later, drills were also held on campus to prepare “the boys” in case they were “called up.”
Average total weight
carried by each soldier in 1914:
30 kg (66 lbs)
3 Combat trousers CADPAT
3 Combat shirt CADPAT
5 Combat T-Shirt
5 Combat underwear / Boxers
5 Combat socks black
5 Combat socks green
2 Pairs of combat boots
1 Cold wet weather boots (Gore-Tex)
1 ICE jacket
1 Wind pants
1 Rain jacket
1 Rain pants
2 Thermal undershirt
2 Thermal underwear
1 Bush cap
1 Combat toque
2 Kit bag
1 Helmet with cover
1 Tactical Vest
1 Ballistic Eyewear
1 Combat gloves
1 Mortar gloves
1 Bayonet carrier
1 Gas mask carrier with shoulder strap
1 Gas mask
1 Water bottle, 1 litre
1 Cup canteen water bottle 1 litre
1 Water canteen, 2 litres with cover and sling
1 Air mattress with bag
1 Sheet utility
1 Bivy bag
1 Liner sleeping bag
1 Hood sleeping bag
1 Outer sleeping bag
1 Inner sleeping bag
1 Wash basin
Winter Kit (required 31 Oct – 1 May)
1 Combat parka
1 Parka bib pants
1 Boot, mukluk
2 Duffle socks, mukluk
2 Polar fleece shirt
2 Polar fleece pants
1 Insert arctic mitt
1 Shell, arctic mitt
1 Thermos canteen, 1L
1 Balaclava, white
Average total weight
carried by each soldier in 2017:
27 kg (60 lbs)