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Contributed by: Bill GIBSON (52A)




Editor’s Footnote.


‘Brat’ is a term oft used when talking about apprentices in the armed forces but its origins are obscured by the mists of time.  Some take pride in the term, like Richard Martin who was proud to be ‘King Brat’ of the R.A.F. whilst others take offence.

One explanation comes from the days when servicemen’s families were accommodated within the barracks with them, particularly when serving in India. Their children, of whom there were many in olden times, roamed the barracks in groups of friends and were likened to the rats who also roamed freely in packs.  The term ‘barrack rats’ was coined and truncated to ‘Brats’.

Believe it?  Perhaps not, but the term features many times in stories of life as experienced by those who were service children in their early days.  There are some fascinating tales available at the web site……


The Army Children’s Archive (T.A.C.A.)




Published: 1st December 2011