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Glossary

Admiralty
Abbreviated form of the Board of Admiralty, the body responsible for the control and administration of the Royal Navy. The Board was headed by The First Lord of the Admiralty, a politician in the Cabinet.
Allied Powers
Wartime bloc initially formed by Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, France, Great Britain and Japan. Italy joined the Allies in May 1915, and Portugal and Romania joined in 1916. Belgium fought alongside the Allies as an Associated Power from 1914 and the United States adopted a similar position in 1917. Cuba, Bolivia, Greece, Siam (now Thailand), Liberia, China, Peru, Uruguay, Brazil, Ecuador and Panama also joined the war as Associated Powers in 1917 and Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti and Costa Rica joined in 1918.
Amphibious operation
Military operation launched from the sea onto the land.
Annex
To expand a country’s territory by taking possession of another country’s land.
ANZAC
Australia and New Zealand Army Corp.
Askari
A soldier from a colony serving in one of the European colonial armies.
Battery
A small group of guns, generally of the same calibre. It is usually the smallest organisational unit within the artillery.
Battalion
A unit in the British Army usually made up of four companies and a headquarters, or approximately 1000 men.
Brigade
A unit in the British Army usually made up of three or four battalions.
British Resident
A British official, representing the British government in another territory and sometimes ruling indirectly, but without the formal establishment of a colony.
Camp Adjutant
Officer responsible for the day to day running of a prisoner of war or internment camp.
Central Powers
Wartime bloc formed initially by Germany and Austria-Hungary. These two powers were joined by the Ottoman Empire in November 1914 and Bulgaria in October 1915.
Company
A unit in the British Army made up of approximately 200 men.
Condominium
Joint control of a state’s affairs by two or more states.
Crown colony
A British colonial possession over which the government in London had a degree of direct control.
Dardanelles
The narrow strait connecting the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara. In early 1915 British and French naval forces attempted to force their way through the straits in order to attack Constantinople (now Istanbul), but were driven back by determined Ottoman resistance. This led to Allied attempts to seize the Gallipoli peninsula.
Dominion
A British colonial possession with an elected assembly which had responsibility for all matters of internal government. During the First World War the Dominions were Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand and South Africa.
Entrench
The fortification of a particular position by a military unit, frequently through the digging of trenches.
Examination service
The system put in place at ports during wartime to examine ships before their entry into the harbour.
Fellahin
Egyptian peasants.
Gallipoli
Gallipoli is a peninsula in modern European Turkey which separates the Aegean Sea and the Dardanelles. The Gallipoli campaign was an attempt by British, colonial and French troops to secure the peninsula and allowed Allied warships through the Dardanelles to attack Turkish capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul). The campaign took place from April 1915 to January 1916. After eight months of heavy casualties, the Allies withdrew in stages between November 1915 and January 1916.
Garrison
A military force defending a specific town or other location.
Havildar
The British Indian Army equivalent to Sergeant.
Home Front
The civilian population and/or civilian activities during a period of conflict.
Imperial
Relating to or concerning empire.
Indentured labour
An individual or group of people bound by a contract to work for another person or organisation for a specified period of time. The contract usually involved working off a debt incurred by the employer, frequently in transporting the labourers from their home to their place of work.
Khedive
Egyptian ruler. The title, which corresponds to that of Viceroy, was officially recognised by the Ottoman Government in 1867, and used until 1914.
Lance Naik
The British Indian Army equivalent to Lance Corporal.
League of Nations
An international organisation founded after the end of the First World War to settle disputes between countries. It is frequently viewed as a precursor to the United Nations.
Magazine
A structure or location where artillery shells and other explosive materials are stored.
Martial law
Temporary rule by a military authority or form of government, generally accompanied by the suspension of civilian legal structures.
Mesopotamia
The area of land surrounding the Euphrates and Tigris river systems. It was the location of regular fighting between British and Ottoman forces from 1914 through to 1918.
Mounted unit
A general term for a military formation which fought from the backs of horses, camels or other animals.
Naik
The British Indian Army equivalent to Corporal.
Orderly
A hospital or medical attendant, who assists doctors and nurses in their duties.
Prize Court
A naval court which rules on whether a vessel captured at sea was taken lawfully and if so what should be done with the ship and its cargo.
Protectorate
A territory which accepts military or diplomatic protection from another country in exchange for concessions, but retains its overall sovereignty.
Rank and file
A term for soldiers who were not commissioned officers. It generally included non-commissioned officers as well as enlisted men.
Regiment
A unit in the British army with a discrete organisational structure. These were usually based in a specific geographical region and made up of two or more battalions.
Royal Charter
Document issued by a monarch granting a right, for example, to a company to administer a territory.
Salonika
Now Thessaloniki, the capital of Greek Macedonia. A combined British and French force landed there in October 1915 to help Serbia against its attackers, establishing the Macedonia Front.
Senussi
Muslim politico-religious Sufi order in Libya and the Sudan. Established in the Western oases, they fought against the British in Egypt and the Sudan.
Sepoy
The British Indian Army equivalent to Private.
Subedar
The British Indian Army equivalent of Lieutenant.
Sultanate
Territory ruled by a sultan.
Supernumerary Section
A body of troops raised in addition to the regular forces, usually in a time of emergency. These soldiers were part-time volunteers who retained their usual employment.
Teutophile
Someone who likes or admires Germany.
Ulemas
Islamic scholars, regarded as the arbiters of sharia law.
Veiled Protectorate
Egypt retained its own administration and rulers, but they were assisted by British administrators holding key positions as advisers. This Veiled Protectorate lasted from the invasion of Egypt by Great Britain in 1882 to the formal proclamation of a protectorate over the country in 1914.
War bonds
Securities offered by the government to investors in time of war to finance military operations.
War Office
The British government department responsible for administering the British Army until 1964.
War saving certificate
Bonds offered by governments to raise money from small-scale investors, drawing on the resources of their own population rather than the broader money markets.
White Rajahs
An hereditary monarchy established by the Englishman James Brooke in the Kingdom of Sarawak, Borneo in 1841, which was abolished in 1951.