A-A
anti-aircraft (ack-ack)
Adj. (Adjutant)
A military officer who acts as an administrative assistant to a senior officer.
Aerodrome – or airfield
A term for any location from which aircraft flight operations take place. A water aerodrome is an area of open water used regularly by seaplanes for landing and taking off.
AFVs
Armoured Fighting Vehicles.
AGH
Australian General Hospital.
Alex (Alexandria)
The chief port of Egypt, located on the western edge of the Nile delta on the Mediterranean Sea.
Batman
An officer's servant, whose duties included cleaning his clothes or shining his shoes.
Battalion (Bn)
A military unit usually consisting of between two and six companies and typically commanded by a lieutenant colonel.
Benediction
A blessing; the act of praying for divine protection.
Bivouac
A temporary camp without tents or cover
Blighter
Person who is regarded with contempt, irritation, or pity and may be considered a pest.
Bonzer
An Australian slang term, expressing approval; similar to 'excellent' or 'wonderful'.
Breda
An Italian anti-aircraft machine-gun.
Bren
A lightweight, quick-firing machine-gun used by the Allied forces in the Second World War.
Brig (Brigadier)
A rank of officer in the British and Australian armies, above colonel and below major general.
Bunk
Broken or no longer working; also false, untruthful.
BVM
Blessed Virgin Mary
CCS
Casualty clearing station.
C'est la guerre
French phrase, literally meaning "It's the war", which gained widespread use during the Second World War. It provided the universal excuse for everything that was broken, no longer functioned, was unavailable, or could not be accomplished. It also explained away all unusual behaviour.
Chaplain
Someone who provides spiritual and pastoral support for servicemen and women, including the conduct of religious services at sea or in the field.
Cheshires
English soldiers from the county of Cheshire.
CO
Commanding officer.
Coy (Company)
A military unit, typically consisting of 100 to 200 soldiers. Most companies are formed of three or four platoons, although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure.
Cpl
Corporal.
Dago
A slang term for an Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese-speaking person.
Destroyer
A small, fast warship, especially one equipped for a defensive role against submarines and aircraft.
Div (Division)
A large military unit usually consisting of between 10,000 and 30,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, and in turn several divisions make up a corps.
Dog fight
Or dogfight, is an instance of aerial combat between fighter aircraft.
Echelon
A formation of troops, ships, aircraft, or vehicles in parallel rows with the end of each row stepped further to the left or right than the one in front.
Eggs
Slang term for bombs
Eyetie
Slang term for an Italian person.
Fritz
A name used to represent the German people as a whole.
Gastroscope
A medical instrument used to examine the stomach.
Gen (General)
A commander of an army, or an army officer of very high rank.
Gendarmerie
A uniformed national police force, sometimes part of the military; the members of such a body are called gendarmes.
Gyppos
A slang term for Egyptians.
Hampshires
English soldiers from the county of Hampshire.
Hovel
A small crude shelter used as a dwelling.
Hurricane or Hawker Hurricane
Was the first modern monoplane fighter to enter service with a British Commonwealth air force. These planes destroyed more German aircraft during 1940 than all other British aircraft types combined.
Infantry
Soldiers who fight primarily on foot with small arms in organised military units.
Jaffa
A Palestinian city and port on the Mediterranean coast of present-day Israel; a southern suburb of Tel Aviv.
Jerry
A slang term referring to the German army.
Magazine
A cartridge holder; a metal frame or container holding cartridges that can be inserted into an automatic gun.
Maginot Line
A line of defensive fortifications constructed between 1929 and 1936 by the French along their eastern border, extending from Switzerland to Luxembourg. In the Second World War, although the defences held, the Germans outflanked them, going through Belgium to conquer France.
Magnetic mines
A mine detonated by the proximity of a steel or iron object such as a ship or tank.
MDS
Medical Dressing Station.
ME
Messerschmitt.
Mess
A place where military personnel take their meals, socialise or, in some cases, live.
MO
Medical Officer.
NCO
Non-commissioned officer.
POWs
Prisoners of war.
Pearls
A term for bombs.
Puggaree
The coloured cloth band worn around felt hats. Puggarees were tied around pith helmets in the British Army to cover the neck in the Sudan (and probably in India) but this practice had stopped well before the world wars.
R.S.M
Regimental Sergeant Major
S.A.A
Small Arms Ammunition.
SB
Stretcher bearer.
Senoussi
A Muslim religious order in Libya and the Sudan.
Sergeant
Any of several non-commissioned officer ranks in the army, navy, or air force, ranking above a corporal.
Slit trench
A narrow trench for a soldier or a small group of soldiers and their equipment, providing shelter in battle.
Solo (game)
A card game in which one player plays against the others in an attempt to win a specified number of tricks.
Squib
A small, slight, or weak person, especially a child.
Stuka
A type of German military aircraft (the Junkers Ju 87) designed for dive-bombing, much used in the Second World War.
Tommy gun
A .45 calibre sub-machine gun.
Very light
A flare fired from a pistol, as a signal or to light up an area.
Wadi
(Arabic) in northern Africa and the Middle East, a gully or riverbed that remains dry except during the rainy season.
Zero hour
The time at which a planned operation, typically a military one, is set to begin.

Blog: Tobruk diaries

Exhibition: Rats of Tobruk, 1941