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Carl the caretaker's in charge

From The Great War 1914-1918

Carl the caretaker's in charge!: A phrase on the Western Front among both British and American troops when finding themselves in a "quiet" sector with few indications of enemy activity. "The trenches opposite," writes an officer, "were said to be in charge of Carl the Caretaker, a methodical old man whom the Kaiser had left in charge while the troops were elsewhere. Many were the stories told about him in different parts of the line; sometimes he was credited with a family, a 'Missus' and 'three little nippers.' Sometimes he was 'Hans the Grenadier,' owing to an occasional fancy for a night bombing party. Sometimes he was called 'Minnie's husband!'" (See Minnie). [1]

References / notes

  1. Edward Fraser and John Gibbons (1925). Soldier and Sailor Words and Phrases. Routledge, London p.47.
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