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THE FRENCH "TOMMY ATKINS"

Mr W. Douglas Newton contributes a bright sketch of the French soldier to 'T. P.'s Journal of Great Deeds of the Great War':

To British military standards of kit and uniform, "lie Piou-piou/' as the French "Tommy Atkins" is nick-named, is a tramp. In the face of our own serviceable khaki, his .clothes are fantaetio and odd; his blue .overcoat, buttoned behind at the knees, is too heavy ; his trousers, oven when they are not the balloons of the Algerian regiments, aire too baggy; his heavy cuirass is cumbersome; and the whole of him is usually slouchy and rather dirty. Moreover, le piou-piou docs not seem to care. His clotlies are curious, but he does not mind ; they do not fit him, and he seems to accentuate the mitfit by deliberate casualr.ess. In appearance, also, ho ie a little odd to our standards. He is built on too many different and conflicting scales, and nobody lias troubled to sort him out into different grades of height. Some of the men are tall and strong, otheis are short to a degree, and some are weedy ; but whatever the height or physique, all are lumped together into tlrat odd jumble of men that makes a French regiment- Again, in all this incongruity, ie piou-piou does not seem to mind. The tiny man maiches unconcernedly by the tall one; both crack their witty jokes, refrain from shaving, are careless about washing, and are indifferent to the scrubbiness of their uniforms. And the reason that le piou-piou does not mind about these things is because he knows they do not matter. Battles are not won by clothes, but bv the man beneath them.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19150102.2.89

Bibliographic details

THE FRENCH "TOMMY ATKINS", Issue 15690, 2 January 1915

Word Count
283

THE FRENCH "TOMMY ATKINS" Issue 15690, 2 January 1915

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