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Dead soldier

Posted by Mike on February 01, 2001

In Reply to: Dead soldier posted by ESC on December 28, 1999

An empty bottle "a marine,"
"a dead marine" In the old days of hard drinking at sea, this expression was generally accepted as synomonous wiht an empty bottle. The story is told that William IV, when Duke of Clarence and Lord High Admiral, pointed to some empty bottles at an official dinner and said, "Take away those marines." A dignified and eledrly major of marines rose from the table and said, "May I respectfully ask why your Royal Highness applies the name of the corps to which I have the honor to belong to to an empty bottle?" The Duke, with what tact anc characteristic grace that was his, retorted promptly, "I call them marines because they are good felows who have done their duty and are ready to do it again." In Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, one finds under the word "marine officer" the libelous explination, "an empty bottle'".: : Any clues as to where it came from or how it came about?
: : Also, Dead Marine - re: an empty bottle.

: "An empty beer bottle has been called 'a dead soldier' or 'dead Marine' since about World War I..." From "I Hear America Talking" by Stuart Berg Flexner (1976, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.)I recently read in another book (can't remember which one) that "dead soldier" may have been a little black humor -- the "spirits" had left the bottle.