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PostKrauts, Milicos, Alfileres (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela, 12/24/17 4:10 am)
Regarding John Heelan's post on "Tommy guns" and John Eipper's comments on soldiers' national nicknames, I recall that German soldiers during WWII were also called Krauts. This derogatory term for a German soldier comes from a typical German food sauerkraut. Kraut is a German word recorded in English from earlier past century onwards as a derogatory term for Germans in general.
In South American countries, army people are pejoratively called milico o milicón. This word comes obviously from the term militares. According to a ex military friend there are other less common derogatory names for the different ranks in the army, such as alfiler for an alférez (second lieutenant), capirucho for a captain, and coroncho for a colonel.
JE comments: Yesterday in Varadero, we saw an English sign advertising a Corporal Massage. I suppose it would be a good way to alleviate a Major Headache.
In Chile, the slang name for police is Pacos. Unlike Spain, where Franciscos are called "Paco" for short, you'll never see Paco used as a nickname for a Chilean Francisco.
Ruperts and Rodneys
(Timothy Ashby, South Africa
12/25/17 9:56 AM)
The former chairman of my company, Lord Guthrie (ex-Chief of the General Staff and Chief of the Defence Staff) told me that young subalterns were referred to as "Ruperts" because the ORs (Other Ranks) seemed to think that all callow, upper-class young officers were named Rupert. Lord Guthrie would know as he was educated at Harrow and Sandhurst.
Another friend, the son of Air Marshall Sir John Whitley, told me that RAF officers were called "Rodneys," but he didn't know why. This same friend (an Old Etonian but hardly a "Rupert") chose not to follow in his father's career footsteps but instead served as a subaltern in the 11th Hussars (aka the "Cherry Pickers" or "Cherry Bums"), famous for being part of the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War.
By the way, the decoy mannequins dropped by the Allies during the 1944 Normandy invasion were called "Ruperts" by the British forces. Could this have been a derogatory reference to young, inexperienced officers fresh out of Eton, Harrow or Rugby?
JE comments: Cool! And let's not forget the best male nickname of all from the UK--the "Guy." Wasn't Guy Fawkes the origin of the generic "guy"? Burn that Guy...
(Greetings from a quick layover in Miami. Christmas Day is a splendid time to be in airports. Everyone is so nice!)