I know that this is an old joke about life in the trenches, it’s one that I myself heard when I was a young lad some 50 years ago, but as this year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, I think it’s an appropriate addition to our collection of great and classic jokes.
Life in the trenches during the First World War was pretty bad. You were either being shot at, or worse you had to go over the top and rush headlong into a wall of lead to attack the enemy. Even on a quiet day (if there was such a thing), the rain and wet and general conditions there were pretty miserable.
The story goes that one English sniper had a cunning plan, based on the fact that Germans generally were a very militaristic race and always obeyed orders.
So, one day when it was quiet, he got his rifle ready and called out towards the German lines “Fritz!”
A German soldier, on hearing this (and we all know that Fritz is a common German name) shouted out “Ja!”, stood upright at attention and the English soldier pulled his trigger.
BANG – and poor old Fritz fell to the ground.
Well the English soldier was grinning from ear to ear and really chuffed with himself, so he thought he would give this new game another go.
Giving it about half an hour for good measure, he called out again “Fritz!”
Another German soldier responded with “Ja!”, stood up to attention and the English soldier pulled his trigger again.
BANG – another German fell to the ground.
Well needless to say this went on for a while, until the German High Command got wise to this trick and thought they would pay it back on the English.
So, the following day, a German sniper got ready, facing the English trenches, and called out “Tommy” (a common English name as we all know).
To his amazement nothing happened, nothing at all.
So he called out again “Tommy!”
Again nothing, which really puzzled and frustrated the Germans.
They thought they would give it one final try, and so the soldier called out a third time as loud as he could “TOMMY!)
An English voice responsed “is that you Fritz?”