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Re: Old Bill & Drum

Posted by ESC on January 14, 2000

In Reply to: Old Bill & Drum posted by PAUL MCMAD on January 12, 2000

: I know what they both mean, Old Bill being an officer of the law, presumably from the London area, and drum being a house, presumably in the London area. However, I can't get any where in my quest for their origins.
: Any ideas?

I didn't exactly understand the question, not being British, and never having heard this expression. But I thought this might help:
OLD BILL - From the "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" (Second Edition, HarperCollins, 1977) by William and Mary Morris: "The Bill Mauldin of World War I was a British cartoonist named Bruce Bairnsfather. His most famous cartoon showed a pair of British infantrymen (very like Mauldin's Willie and Joe) huddled in a shell hole knee-deep in water. One of the soldiers, Bert, complains of the inconvenience of their predicament and Old Bill replies, 'If you know of a better 'ole, go to it.' The cartoon and its creator became world famous and Old Bill became a household name throughout the English-speaking world."