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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

"On Jankers" - looking for source material


sw63

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Hi,

Can someone please point me to a quotable Great War source for the specific term "On Jankers" so I can prove it was in use at the time in the British Army.

Also - was there an alternative phrase, "Doing Paddy Doyle"?

Many thanks,

Simon

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The Long Trail Soldiers Songs and Slang 1914 -18 by John Brophy and Eric Partridge (both of whom served in WW1) which also involved Liddell Hart in its compilation contains a definition of Jankers

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Oxford English Dictionary entry first records it in print in 1916 (which does not mean it wasn't being used in spoken English beforehand) -

Etymology: Origin unknown.
Services' slang.
Punishment for defaulters; the defaulters themselves; the cells in which they are placed.
1916 J. N. Hall Kitchener's Mob 35 The ‘jankers’ or defaulters' squad was always rather large.
1919 Athenæum 25 July 664/2 The advent of the Royal Navy Division introduced to the Army the sailor's slang word ‘jankers’, the equivalent of the soldier's ‘clink’, punishment cells.
1919 Athenæum 8 Aug. 727/2 When doing C.B. or ‘time’ he [sc. the soldier] was doing ‘jankers’ or ‘Paddy Doyle’.
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The Long Trail also records Jankers King = Provost Sergeant and Jankers Men = Defaulters. It suggests that the word Jankers was in use pre war and is onomatopoeic from the noise that fetters make (much the same as clink)

However TLT defines Clink as being specifically the Guard Room. There was an actual jail in Southwark known as Clink prison which in turn took its name from thieves' cant

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A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English By Eric Partridge - "do Paddy Doyle", to be a defaulter. late 19-early 20c., possibly derived from P.D. "pack drill".
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A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English By Eric Partridge - "do Paddy Doyle", to be a defaulter. late 19-early 20c., possibly derived from P.D. "pack drill".

Yes he has a similar definition in his earlier TLT but is more precise defining it as CB. He describes pack drill separately and makes no link

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Doing Paddy Doyle also appears in dictionaries of sailors slang and there was no pack drill on ships I think. Two possibilities Victorian military prisons were originally referred to as Penal Detention Barracks and there was a notorious London (incompetent) criminal called Paddy Doyle who spent more time in prison than out of it (not to be confused with the Liverpool boarding house keeper called Paddy Doyle who appears in sea shanties "we'll pay Paddy Doyle for his boots")

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For what it is worth, Frank Richards uses the term "jankers" in Old Soldier Sahib telling about his time as recruit in the very early 1900's...

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Strangely I have - and love - that dictionary. It was a Christmas present from my late wife. I just didn't think of looking it up there. Thanks for reminding me not to be lazy!

David

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Doing Paddy Doyle also appears in dictionaries of sailors slang and there was no pack drill on ships I think. Two possibilities Victorian military prisons were originally referred to as Penal Detention Barracks and there was a notorious London (incompetent) criminal called Paddy Doyle who spent more time in prison than out of it (not to be confused with the Liverpool boarding house keeper called Paddy Doyle who appears in sea shanties "we'll pay Paddy Doyle for his boots")

Therefore to "do Paddy Doyle" would mean to "do time" in the Guardroom / Prison?

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Therefore to "do Paddy Doyle" would mean to "do time" in the Guardroom / Prison?

So The Long Trail says

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