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You've been in the wars

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on October 18, 2008 at 12:56

In Reply to: You've been in the wars posted by Veronica Rankin on October 18, 2008 at 10:55:

: I would like to know the origin of 'You've been in the wars' or 'Your in the wars'. My mother says it to my children when they've hurt themselves and as she did to me and my siblings.

It's only quite recently (in historical terms) that governments have provided regular pensions for discharged soldiers. In earlier centuries, at the end of every major war the Army would simply discharge all the soldiers that were now superfluous to peacetime requirements, and leave them to shift for themselves; soldiers crippled in battle and unable to work would simply be given permits to beg in the streets. So everyone was familiar with the sorry figure of the crippled beggar who had "been in the wars" and was now dependent on the charity of passers-by, and it was an obvious description to apply to anyone who looks a bit battered. (VSD)