The Ballad of Tommy Atkins was first published as “Tommy” in Kipling’s timeless Barrack-Room Ballads and Other Verses in the 1890s. "Tommy Atkins", or simply Tommy, was a generic name applied to British soldiers from as early as the 18th century, but came into popular parlance during the First World War when troops were simply referred to as “Tommies”. The ballad exposes the bitterness felt by the British soldier to the public’s treatment of their forces in times of peace, and how that alters in wartime.
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