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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    Not strictly about the film, but several times, John Mills as the corporal, refers to vehicles, usually as being "U.S." Anyone know what this abbreviation means as I can't figure it out?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: England
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    It means useless

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: England markrgv's Avatar
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    U/S is a term used by the military, meaning Un-Serviceable (ie. not working).

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain
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    As a trucker for 20 years until retirement, the above definitions are quite adequate, but in haulage parlance "Up the S........." was more accurate. (The number of dots have no literary alternative; the paraphrase used to be the more important)

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: Wales
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    Seemed to be a common term as I remember at least two family members using the expression for things that did not work, were 'unserviceable' (thats how I found out the meaning when a child) and both saw active service in WW2.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Country: Great Britain
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    Though why Tubby would be using an American expression in 1940, well before the US joined the war and the acronym became well known, is possibly another anachronism.

    Nick

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: England markrgv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Dando View Post
    Though why Tubby would be using an American expression in 1940, well before the US joined the war and the acronym became well known, is possibly another anachronism.

    Nick
    Never heard of it being an American expression before. The British military were certainly using it for all of the last century.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    It's a very old expression. U/S for unserviceable or 'not fit for service'.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
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    I think "Go tell it to the Marines" was a British expression, but I daresay everyone nowadays assumes it is something to do with the Yankee guys with white gloves and shiny rifles, who say "Sir, yes Sir", rather than "Bond, James Bond"..

    I always used to think US stood for Unusable and was an acronym rather than an abbreviation, but it all means the same obviously.

    Last edited by Moor Larkin; 11-02-12 at 12:27 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Country: Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moor Larkin View Post
    I think "Go tell it to the Marines" was a British expression
    Certainly was. Goes back to the early 1800s. British sailors were usually more wordly experienced than the Royal Marines. So when some preposterous (mostly sea-related) story was told, the saying "Tell that to the marines" meant that sailors wouldn't believe, but the untravelled Marines were likely to.

    I can remember my mother telling about her cousin who was a Japanese POW in Changi before he died on the Sandakan death march. In the very few letters that the family got, prisoners would give some rather flattering details of their conditions and treatment, enabling letters to pass the Japanese censors. However, they quite frequently managed to slip into the context of the letter phrases like "And you can tell that to the Marines", or "You can let the marines know about that". Because the phrase was not known by the Japanese, it wasn't censored, hence the families in Australia had an inkling of some the treatment/conditions the POWs might be experiencing.

    As to the OP, in my 5-6 years in the (Aus) Army, US always meant "un-serviceable" ... and there were frequent occasions for it to be used!!!
    Last edited by Arthur Linden-Jones; 11-02-12 at 01:03 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Linden-Jones View Post
    Certainly was. Goes back to the early 1800s. British sailors were usually more wordly experienced than the Royal Marines. So when some preposterous (mostly sea-related) story was told, the saying "Tell that to the marines" meant that sailors wouldn't believe, but the untravelled Marines were likely to.

    I can remember my mother telling about her cousin who was a Japanese POW in Changi before he died on the Sandakan death march. In the very few letters that the family got, prisoners would give some rather flattering details of their conditions and treatment, enabling letters to pass the Japanese censors. However, they quite frequently managed to slip into the context of the letter phrases like "And you can tell that to the Marines", or "You can let the marines know about that". Because the phrase was not known by the Japanese, it wasn't censored, hence the families in Australia had an inkling of some the treatment/conditions the POWs might be experiencing.
    Interesting. There's a Doctor Who story (Day of the Daleks since you ask) where the Doctor uses the expression to convey to the Brigadier that he's been kidnapped by the bad guys. Both Pertwee and producer Barry Letts were in the Navy in WWII so it may have been the RN influence.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
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    It was evidentially a commonly-known tag-line in 1959 Britain.

    image002.jpg

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