Nicknames have long been a party of military life, sometimes cruel, sometimes rewarding, but no doubt an ongoing segment of the vast military tapestry. Often the recipient would be unaware of his nickname, and in many cases, it would have been foolish if not lethal to inform him.
Viewed in the cold light of day, there is probably nothing sinister about them if they cause no harm, and certainly a lot of work has gone into some of them. It is interesting that when employed overseas the local military often manage to hit the nail on the head behind our backs. When my father was in the Trucial Oman Scout’s apparently he was known as ‘Busty F£$% Off’, which comes as no surprise.
Soldier’s humour knows no boundaries and is no respecter of rank, and in many cases there is little alternative. Major General Sir David Thorne was known with affection and respect as ‘DC’ to most of the men (and the world) and we would have followed him to hell and back. Simply the best!
Below is a selection to trigger the memory cells, no doubt there are many more, just send them in and they will join the list.
Nickname followed by its origin
Andy; Surname Andrews.
Animal; Accredited to a special style of rugby player or individual. Not easily earned.
Aussie; Anyone named Austin or with Australian connections.
Baldy; Anyone bald or showing signs of future baldness
Barney; Surname Barnes or anyone bearing resemblance to a certain bear.
Beaky; Anyone unfortunate enough to have a large or prominent nose.
Beano; Debatable origins, but made famous in the Vikings, by Beano Beckett
Benny; Anyone showing similarity to Benny from Crossroads in looks or manner.
Big Bird; Anybody unfortunate enough to have large birdlike features.
Biffo; Somebody with the reputation for giving someone a ‘biff’ when require.
Bingo; When tasked to provide entertainment for a company of hairy arse Vikings; Lt Willis arranged ‘Bingo’ and was duly named as such.
Blackie; Anyone named Blackburn or similar.
Blanco; Anyone named White.
Blinker; Anyone unfortunate enough to have the obvious afflection.
Blondie; Anyone with blonde hair, however soldiers have been known to go fr the totally opposite!
Bluey; Australian connections or aren’t letter writer. Airmail letters are blue and known as ‘blueys’.
Bob; Derogatory term for B”£$% orrible bastard!
Bomber; Surname Brown or Harris.
Buster; Surname Bates.
Brammy; Surname beginning with Bram. The most famous being Mervyn Bramwell ex Viking & ex RLI.
Brummy; Anybody from Birmingham.
Cass; Anybody who had boxing ability or inclination, originated from Cassius Clay.
Chalky; Surname White. Although a certain White changed his name to Caswell to escape, and become known as Chalky Caswell!
Chip; Surname Carpenter, however of noteable fame in the Vikings was also Chip Orris.
Chippy; As above.
Chopper; Gifted with large appendage.
Chubby; Anyone slightly overweight.
Chunky; Any Assault pioneer was liable to be called ‘Chunky’ and a notable example in the Vikings was Chunky Slinn, a former RSM and QM.
Cookie; Surname Cooke.
Danny; Surname Kaye.
Des; Surname O’Connor
Dill; Surname Pickle.
Dinger; Surname Bell
Doc; Surname Martin or gifted or employed with medical skills
Dog; Somebody unfortunate enough to look like a dog or act like a dog.
Dolly; Surname Dexter.
Donk; Gifted in the John Thomas department.
Donkey; As above.
Dopey; As it would suggest.
Doris; Somebody with feminine tendencies.
Dozy; As the name suggests.
Drummy; Attributed to Drum Majors; Drummy Moyes, Drummy Hitchen, Drummy Hilton
Dusty; Surname Miller.
Ena; Anybody like Ena Sharples of Coronation Street fame. Phil ‘Ena’ Ellwell of the Duke of Wellingtons Regt was a friend of the editor!
Eric; Surname Sykes.
Farmer; Surname Giles or from country background.
Fatty; As it would suggest.
Fitz; Any surname beginning with Fitz; ie Fitzgerald, Fitzpatrick.
Flash; Anybody with a bit of flair.
Flatfoot; Anybody unlucky enough to have flat feet.
Flossie; Surname Foster.
Four Eyes; Anyone wearing glasses.
Frenchie; Anyone who had served with the French Foreign Legion.
Fumf; Common surnames would be identified with the last 2 numbers of your regimental number. Attributed to Terry Smith 55 in BAOR.
Gabby; Surname Hayes or Haes.
Gazza; Christian name Gary.
Geordie; From Newcastle or area.
Ghengis; Being of right wing disposition.
Ginger; Somebody with Red hair.
Gonzo; Popular name from the Muppet era. Of fame was Gonzo Wearie of shooting team fame.
Grandad; Anybody of mature age or looking that way.
Gripper; Attributed to anyone who sorted problems out. Of fame was Eddie ‘Gripper’ Davies ex Tiger, ex Viking and outstanding soldier.
Grizzly; Affectionally attributed to anyone who resembled one when in bad mood. Most famous being our very own Gen Mike Walker.
Growler; Mick Fowler was known as ‘Growler’, and no explanation is required. A legend and one of the best.
Grumpy; Somebody with negative disposition.
Heineken; Lover of the obvious, made famous by Heineken Hornigold of Celle fame, producing a perfect combination of nickname and surname.
Henry; Owned by Tim Wilkes through no fault of his own. The X Country Ski Team entered a German competition in 1975 using surnames only owing to the language difficulty, the Germans allocated as they saw fit! The team made sure that he didn’t shake it off easily.
Hitler; Bossy person, full of themselves.
Ike; Somebody with USA connection.
Isaiah; Somebody with 1 eye higher than the other.
Jack; Loner. Also attributed to people for no apparent reason or connection.
Jacko; Surname Jackson.
Jamo; Surname James.
JC; Abbreviation for Jesus Christ, awarded to some of importance or reglar user of the expletive.
Jesus; Origin unsure. Jesus Gault was well known in the Suffolk Regimental Depot in the 50’s and 60’s.
JJ; Double Christian names such as John Joseph, JJ Mc Anally was good soldier in A Company in 60’s and 70’s
Jock; Somebody with Scottish connections.
Jonah; Surname Jones.
Killer; Debatable origin, but attributed to Killer Glenton who was also known as Glit Glenton.
Kinky; Suspect origin, but most famous was John Ross, who was also known as Kinky or JR. Diamond geezer.
Kipper; Surname Plaice or Place.
Knocker; Surname Newman or Noakes.
Lofty; Somebody who was very tall or very short.
Mac; Surnames beginning with Mc or Mac. Also possibly somebody with Christian name Malcolm.
Mario; Somebody of Italian extraction or looks, famous or infamous was Mario Wilkinson of 60’s and 70’s fame.
Mary; Effeminate nature or looks.
Mick; Irish or Christian name of Michael.
Mitch; Surname Mitchell
Monk; Surname Abott.
Morty: Surname Mortimer. Of immortal fame would be Ron ‘Black Mort’ Mortimer, further details to follow.
Muddy; Surname Waters
Nancy; Slightly feminate.
Napolean; Bossy person, full of themselves.
Nippy; Surname Norman, also someone whi is fast on there feet.
Nobby; Surname Clarke.
Ollie; Associated with someone wearing glasses, or looking like an owl.
Ossie; Surname Osborne or similar.
Paddy; Of Irish extraction.
Peddler; Surname Palmer
Perry; Surname Mason.
Plug; Origin unknown. Plug Cochin was solid Viking in 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
Pony; Surname Moore
Punchy; Somebody handy with his fists.
Quaker; Surname Oates.
Quasi; Ugly devil, as in Quasimodo.
Quincy; Somebody with medical connection.
Rambo; Somebody ‘gung ho’ or with ‘warlike’ reputation
Red; As Ginger.
Richard; Surname Head, as alternative to Dick.
Ringo; Origin unknown, but John Watson was known as ‘Ringo’ and he was a legend on the football field and battlefield.
Robbo; Surname Robinson.
Rocky; Somebody associated with boxing or reputation for fighting, not always a winner.
Sadie; Surname Sadler, attributed to Trevor Sadler also known as Sadie and born 20 years too late. He’d have loved the war!
Sandy; Surname Sands or hair coloured that way.
SAS; Somebody who thinks they should be, could be or would like to be. Can also be a complete reversal and would never ever make one.
Scouse; Somebody from Liverpool or near, on occasions any funny accent would invite a nickname from a true Viking.
Scruff; Scruffy individual.
Shac; Surname Shales.
Shaggy; Long haired individual.
Sherlock; Surname Holmes.
Shonk; Someone with a large nose.
Showaddywaddy; Somebody inclined towards Rock and Roll. Attributed to Pete Cookson Ex RSM, friend and Viking.
Skinny; Somebody who was either very thin or the opposite.
Skippy; Surname Jarvis or somebody with Australian background.
Slim; As skinny. Of note was Slim Irvine of the Drums in Aden in 65 who was the editors mentor for a while.
Smelly; Unhygienic individual.
Smudge; Surname Smith.
Smithy; As above.
Snakey; Surname Blackadder. Ronnie Blackadder also known as Snakey in the late 60’s earl 70’s springs to mind.
Solly; Tight individual.
Specky; Wearer of glasses.
Speedy; Fast individual or total opposite.
Spider; Surname Webb.
Spike; Surname Sykes or someone with spikey hair.
Spock; Someone with funny ears.
Spotty; Individual with unfortunate complexion, depending non the environment one spot could be enough to be branded for life!
Sproggie; Young or new soldier.
Spud; Surname Taylor.
Squeaky; Individual with high pitched voice.
Stinky; As smelly.
Streaky; Surname Bacon. Staunch member of the ‘A’ Team in 1985 was Kevin ‘Streaky’ Bacon. Top hole, diamond geezer.
Stretch; Long or tall individual.
Stumpy; Small compact individual.
Sweeney; Surname Todd. Malcolm ‘Sweeny’ Todd was one of the best of the best, and still is.
Sycho; Surname Sykes or nutter, do not have to be linked.
Taff; Welsh connections.
Tich; Small individual.
Tiger; Someone who is a goer. Of note would be Tiger Gardner.ex Recce and Viking through and through.
Tiny; Somebody small or very large. Of note would be Dave ‘Tiny’ Smith ex A Company and yet another top hole diamond geezer.
Tommo; Surname Thomas or Thompson.
Tusker; Someone with large nose.
Weasel; Origin unknown. I’m sure that Weasle Henson, Colchester FC Supporter and Viking Veteran will reveal all!
Whoopie; someone with a nervous affliction causing them to ‘whoop’ unexpectantly. Much like Alf Hippetitimus!
Yorky; Someone from Yorkshire.