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Instruction for American Servicemen, 1942

May 28, 2010

When I spotted this, I couldn’t pass it up.  Comprised of text originally consisting of several pages of typescript on poor quality paper, this was issued by the U.S. War Department to American soldiers headed to Britain.  The writing is direct and to the point, giving the young G.I.s an accurate snap shot of what to expect when they reached British soil.

“At home you were in a country at war.  Since your ship left port, however, you have been in a war zone.”

On the people, their customs and manners:

“You will be welcome in the British pubs as long as you remember one thing.  The pub is “the poor man’s club,” the neighborhood or village gathering place, where the men have come to see their friends, not strangers.”

“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. It’s an even swap.”

Keep out of arguments.

“You can rub a Britisher the wrong way by telling him we came over and won the last one”.

On friendliness.

“The British will welcome you as friends and allies.  But remember that crossing the ocean doesn’t automatically make you a hero.”

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