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Had the biscuit

Posted by RRC on June 22, 2009 at 06:35

In Reply to: Had the biscuit posted by David FG on June 21, 2009 at 18:53:

: : Wondering if anyone has heard the explanation re Phrase 'had the biscuit', that it derives from WW1 trench warfare in France. When a soldier was mortally wounded the Chaplain administered 'last rites' which included the Eucharist---wafer of bread---which in soldiery slang became 'the biscuit'. Ergo, if so-and-so 'had the biscuit' he had died. It bcame applicable to almost anything that was 'worn out', 'finished.

: I can't speak for any other Christian denomination (but I strongly suspect they are similar) but in the Catholic Church the Sacrament of Extreme Unction (the 'last rites') does not involve taking the consecrated Host, but in anointing with oil.

: It might be rather difficult trying to get someone on the point of death to swallow a 'biscuit' - or indeed, anything else.

: DFG

In the Catholic Church, "Last Rites" consists of 3 parts depending on what the person is capable of - Penance (confession), Anointing of the Sick (the official name for Extreme Unction since Vatican II), and a special Eucharist called a Viaticum (provisions for a journey) which would include wine and wafer if the person is capable of ingesting food. (It's only a wafer-thin wafer after all).
Most Protestant denominations outside of Anglican/Episcopalian do not have such official "about to die" rites at all.