American troops given guide to getting on with Brits

Dorset Echo: American troops given guide to getting on with Brits American troops given guide to getting on with Brits

TENS of thousands of American troops arrived in Dorset in the lead-up to D-Day.

They were regarded as wealthy and glamorous, an impression that had been gleaned from the Hollywood movies of the time, so their arrival was a cause of great excitement.

For the children, there were sweets - or 'candy' - and chewing gum handed out by passing GIs.

For other sections of the population, there were other luxuries such as stockings and the illicit thrill of romances, some of which led to around 100,000 'GI brides' heading back across the Atlantic with their men.

Among the equipment toted by the American troops was a handy booklet provided by the US War and Navy Departments called A Short Guide to Great Britain.

Its message 'to get acquainted' was crucial to the war effort and the continued good relations between the two countries.

Some of the guidelines it included were: l The British dislike bragging and showing off. The British Tommy is apt to be especially touchy about the differences between his wage and yours. Keep this in mind.

l Don't be misled by the British tendency to be soft-spoken and polite. If they need to be they can be plenty tough. The British are tough, strong people and good allies.

l Most people get used to the British climate, eventually.

l The British people are anxious for you to know that in normal times Britain looks much prettier, cleaner and neater.

l You will quickly discover differences that are confusing or even wrong. Like driving on the left hand side of the road and having money based on an impossible system.

l Sport - in general, more people play games in Britain than in America and they play even if they are no good at it.

l In getting to know the Tommy soldier, two actions on your part will slow up friendship - swiping his girl and not appreciating what his army has been up against.

l You can rub a Britisher up by telling them 'we came over and won the last one'.

l There are fewer murders, robberies and burglaries in the whole of Great Britain in a year than in a single American city l The British don't know how to make a good cup of coffee. You don't know how to make a good cup of tea.

l If you are invited into a British home and the host exhorts you to 'eat up, there's plenty on the table', go easy. It may be the family's rations for a week.

l It isn't a good idea to say 'bloody' in mixed company in Britain - it is one of their worst swear words.

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