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Royal NavyRoyal Navy

Surname Nickname Explanation
A    
Adams Daisy  
Adams Fanny

Fanny Adams (Sweet Fanny Adams) was the child victim of a notorious Victorian murder case. Fanny (or Frances) Adams aged nine was murdered at Alton, Hants on 24 April 1867. The murderer (Frederick Baker, a solicitor's clerk, aged 24) cut the body up into pieces, some of which were allegedly found in Deptford Victualling Yard. Baker was tried at Winchester and hanged in December 1867. At about this time tinned mutton was introduced into the Navy and soon acquired the name of Fanny Adams. The tins were subsequently used by sailors as mess gear. The name "fanny" is still the Naval slang for a cooking pot as well as being used in the nickname sense.

Alan/Allen Darby  
Arnold Nobby  
Arrol Dite

Araldite glue

Atkins Tommy

In 1812 during the Peninsula War in Spain and Portugal when pocket or pay books were first issued to soldiers in the field the Duke of Wellington's Aide-de- Camp had to explain their workings to the troops. He used as his example a new pay book which had just been issued to Private Thomas (Tommy) Atkins of the British Grenadiers. All pay books for years afterwards were called "Tommies" and if you were in receipt of one you were also known as a "Tommy", giving rise to the nickname for British soldiers.

The name Tommy Atkins was later popularised in a Rudyard Kipling poem, with the character becoming synonymous with British soldiers serving in the trenches in WW1.

Austin/Austen Bunny

Bunny Austin was the first tennis player to wear shorts at Wimbledon in 1932

Aziz Fails

Nickname from the Submarine Service where electrical switches are designed to fail in a safe mode, whatever it may be and on loss of electrics the switch fails either to an open position, or shut, or as it is at the time hence as is.

B

   
Bacon

Streaky

Streaky bacon - cut of bacon

Bailey

Bill

"Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Back" title of popular music hall song written in 1902

Baker

Bagsy

 
Banks

Gordon

1960s/70s Leicester and England goalkeeper

Barber

Ali

Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, from the Arabian Nights

Barker

Ronnie

1970s/80s comedian

Bates

Basher

 
Bell

Daisy

 
Bell

Dinger

Self-evident - to ring or ding a bell

Bennett

Wiggy

 
Bennett Gordon Early 20th century playboy with links to journalism. He effectively started the sport of international motor racing through his sponsorship of the Bennett Trophy races from 1900 to 1905. Also presented trophies for powered air racing and long-distance hot-air ballooning, with the international Gordon Bennett balloon race still continuing to this day. Phrase "Gordon Bennett" sometimes used as a mild expletive.
Beresford

Charlie

Early 20th Century Admiral Lord Charlie Beresford, arch enemy of Admiral Jackie Fisher (see entry for Fisher)

Bird

Dicky

Child's name for a bird well known cricket umpire of the 1980s/90s

Blake/Blakeman

Snakey

HMS Blake was known as the Snakey Blake. This came from the fact that it used to have the strangest cork screw movement through the Sea (due to length of 600ft and width of 60ft), which made its wake snake about unlike other ships, which have a straight wake.

Bond

Brook

Brooke Bond - well known brand of tea

Bond

Jimmy

Secret agent of the screen, 007, James Bond

Bond

Pusser

 
Bone

Johnny

 
Booth

General

William Booth died 1912; first "general" of the Salvation Army in 1878

Bray

Donkey

Sound that donkeys make

Brooke/Brookes

Rajah

From the mid-19th century until the Japanese occupation in WW2 the Brooke family controlled the territory of Sarawak in the East Indies and were known as the 'White Rajahs'

Brown

Buster

 
Bunn Sticky

Cakes are sticky.

Butler Rab

Conservative Minister 1950s/60s including becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1951

Butler Claude

Famous British bicycle manufacturer

C

   

Carter

Nick

Fictional detective/spy who has been appearing in the written media in various guises since the late 19th century, but probably best known from novels of the 1960s/70s

Casey

Ginger

 

Castle

Bouncy

Children's party toy

Chapman

Charlie

 

Chase

Charlie

Comedian of the silent screen era (died1940)

Clark(e)

Nobby

During the Industrial Revolution, many common people became wealthy and to identify with their wealth had the spelling of their names changed. Smith became Smythe, Brown became Browne and Clark became Clarke. They disowned their country cousins who referred to their stuck-up relatives as aping the nobility, calling them the nobs or the Nobby Clarks.

Cole

Smokey

Coal makes smoke

Collins

Jumper

 

Cooper

Mini

Popular 1960s production car model

Cornish

Pasty

West Country savoury dish of the same name.