|Downton Abbey, in the days before learning curves|
They did, however, have their own words and phrases which come across loud and clear in their letters. Below are some of the most popular.
- 'Swank' was well used: 'From here in my office (swank!) I have a glorious view of Falmouth Harbour,' wrote Sgt Maj John Glasson Thomas to his sweetheart before departing for France. And later: 'You will see that I'm swanking on official notepaper - 'tis cheaper than buying pads, eh?'
- 'In the pink' was how servicemen let their families know they they were fine, and 'A1' was also a great favourite, probably deriving from the Army's classification which showed how fit for work a soldier was.
- 'Lively' and 'exciting' were frequently used to describe fierce fighting and danger in the trenches; this no doubt reflected the British stiff upper lip, as the alternative was to say 'it's terrifying'.
- And here's an unusual one (unless you're Canadian) - 'jake'. This crops up time and time again in Canadian letters - 'everything is jake' meant that everything was OK.