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It is certain that the name was coined by British military authorities during the preparation of a a new pocket ledger to be carried by each soldier.
The ledger contained details of the soldier's name, age, date of enlistment, length of service, wounds, medals, etc. When issuing the booklet to each soldier the War Office enclosed a guidance sheet which included example entries; 'Thomas Atkins' was the specimen soldier's name.
The ledger itself quickly became known as the 'Tommy Booklet' and its holder, inevitably, as 'Tommy' www. Tommy Atkins or Thomas Atkins has been used as a generic name for a common British soldier for many years.
The origin of the term is a subject of debate, but it is known to have been used as early as A letter sent from Jamaica about a mutiny amongst the troops says "except for those from N.
America ye Marines and Tommy Atkins behaved splendidly" https: It is in Flanders, at the height of the Battle of Boxtel. The Duke of Wellington is with his first command, the 33rd Regiment of Foot, who have been bloodily engaged in hand-to-hand fighting, when he comes across a soldier lying mortally wounded in the mud.
It is Private Thomas Atkins. Leslie, writing in Notes and Queries in"Tommy Atkins" was chosen as a generic name by the War Office inin every sample infantry form in the Soldiers Account Book, signing with a mark. Leslie observes the same name in the Kings Regulations, pages andand later editions.
Leslie comments that this disproves the anecdote about the Duke of Wellington selecting the name in https: A further suggestion was given in by an army chaplain named Reverend E.
He wrote of an incident during the Sepoy Rebellion in When most of the Europeans in Lucknow were fleeing to the British Residency for protection, a private of the 32nd Regiment of Foot remained on duty at an outpost.
Despite the pleas of his comrades, he insisted that he must remain at his post. He was killed at his post, and the Reverend Hardy wrote that "His name happened to be Tommy Atkins and so, throughout the Mutiny Campaign, when a daring deed was done, the doer was said to be 'a regular Tommy Atkins'" https: It is also said that the name "Tommy Atkins" was the example name on conscription sheets during the First World War, and that teenagers who were underage often signed up as "Tommy Atkins" https: The term was used quite widely, and indeed rather contemptuously, in the mid 19th century.
Harry Patch, who died aged inwas known as the "Last Tommy" because he was the last surviving British soldier who fought in World War I www. Such was the day for our regimentDread the revenge we will take. And while lying there, poor fellow, he thinks of his wife at home,And his heart bleeds at the thought, and he does moan;And down his cheek flows many a silent tear,When he thinks of his friends and children dearMeta descriptions allow you to influence how your web pages are described and displayed in search results.
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