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Ungentlemanly talk

26 August 2016

August 25th, 1916.

THE paragraph which appeared in our last week’s issue, and which referred to the prevalence of pro­fane and foul language among our troops, seems to have attracted some attention in the Press. What strikes us as confirming the truth of our allegation is the fact that no attempt has been made to refute it. The Daily Express, however, made a comment which even its most devoted reader would scarcely pro­nounce sapient. “Possibly, how­ever,” it wrote, “The Church Times has been misinformed, and the armies’ attempts to pronounce French have been misunderstood. ‘Na pooh’ sounds worse than it means.” As a matter of fact, we based our remarks on what we have been told by soldiers themselves, to many of whom it is an almost unendurable trial to have to listen incessantly to filthy or blasphemous talk. And what does the Daily Express make of this? Not many nights ago some soldiers were being marched down Fleet-street, under command of officers, singing in­­decent parodies of hymns to their familiar tunes. This was no case of “Na pooh,” as our contemporary, trying to be funny, feebly suggests. The words were English enough. And the worst of it is that there was no attempt on the part of the officers in charge to make their men behave decently in public. We yield to none in our admiration for the gallant fellows who are fighting in our defence, and it is in very jealousy for their sakes that we bid them remember that your best soldier is always the gentleman.


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