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Origin of phrase: "Overpaid, oversexed and over here!"

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Shangas, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. Shangas

    Shangas Member

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    Last night I was watching...Chicken Run. In which one of the characters is Fowler, the rooster, who is modelled after a stereotypical British army officer (with matching accent).

    At one point in the film, he attacks Rocky, the other rooster (from America) and says: "Overpaid, oversexed and over HERE!"

    Now I realise this is a common line which was used several times during WWII when Americans were stationed in commonwealth countries such as England and Australia. What I wanted to know is, who coined this phrase?
     
  2. krieg

    krieg Ace

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    i must say old chap ..thers more of them bloody yanks
    america in england ....:D
    cheers krieg
     
  3. Shangas

    Shangas Member

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    Why hello, Kreig, nice to know that my little thread's getting some attention, wot? But I'd still like to know where the phrase came from. One source says it was coined by a British comedian, but I'm not sure.
     
  4. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr Patron  

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    As with many such phrases, it's almost impossible to pinpoint the exact origin which could have come from almost anywhere.

    But there's little doubt that the phrase became widespread through being used by popular stage and radio comedian Tommy Trinder.

    There was a lot of resentment at the time that US forces were paid a lot more than their British counterparts and naturally enough, tended to 'get the girls'.....
     
  5. krieg

    krieg Ace

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    all threads get looked at ..... but i would myself lean towards the saying
    beaing english
    but like martin says it could of came from anywhere
    cheers krieg
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I recall the US soldiers used a phrase to describe the British in reply.Anyone remember what it was? Thanx!
     
  7. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Something to the effect of:

    "under-paid, under-sexed and under Eisenhower"
     
  8. bigfun

    bigfun Ace

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    That's funny! I've never heard of that one!:rofl:
     
  9. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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    I don't honestly know if the phrase was officially 'coined' or just came into being. Martin could well be right about Tommy Trinder though, sounds like his kind of crack.
    As for getting the girls, in an era when most British people didn't travel further than a ten mile radius from their homes, any accent got noticed, but American ones had the added glamour of Hollywood. Plus the British Army and Navy abolished all uniform 'orders' except battle/working dress for the duration, RAF BD could only be worn on station (SD being worn for 'walking-out') so American SD uniforms instantly looked more exotic.
     
  10. macrusk

    macrusk Proud Daughter of a Canadian WWII Veteran

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    I found this
    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/oversexed-overpaid-and-over-here.html

    Oversexed, overpaid and over here

    Meaning

    Comic line, making fun of the US Army in Europe in WWII. There was a good humoured banter between the GIs that were stationed in Britain prior to and during WWII and the British citizenry. The GIs had a come-back - calling the Brits, "underpaid, undersexed and under Eisenhower".

    Conditions were harsh in Britain in the early 1940s and there was also an undercurrent of unease that was conveyed by the phrase, especially amongst British men, who resented the attraction of GIs, with their ready supply of nylons and cigarettes, amongst British women. The artist Beryl Cook, who was a young woman at the time confirmed this in an interview to the BBC in the late 1970s. I can't find the transcript of the interview, but from memory it was words to the effect of, 'food was scarce, but we supplemented our income by a little impromptu whoring with the GIs - we all did it'. Many of these liaisons were love matches rather than merely commercial transactions though, as the thousands of marriages between US servicemen and British women (the GI brides) is evidence of.

    The line was also used in Australia, in much the same context.

    Origin

    The phrase was popularized by Tommy Trinder (1909-1989), a well-known and well-liked English comedian (seen here with Phil Silvers). His version of the line which, although he gave it wide circulation was probably coined by someone else, was "overpaid, overfed, oversexed and over here".
    Strangely, since there can't have been anyone over the age of ten in Britain at the end of the war who wasn't familiar with the phrase, it appears very seldom in print. It must have been recorded earlier, but the earliest reference I have found is in a US newspaper The Morgantown Post, 1958, in an article by Holmes Alexander:

    The British regarded us then as well-meaning but blundering intercessors whom they rather preferred to have on their island than the Jerries. We were, in the well-known phrase, 'overpaid, oversexed and over here', and we were in British eyes overdecorated, overstaffed, overmaintenanced and overbearing."


    Personally, I don't think much of the comment in the above article by the Artist, Beryl Cook, as I've known many English women of the era (both warbrides and non-warbrides) and none would resemble her description and would be highly insulted at the inference.

    Canadian soldiers were also subject to enmity in their time in England, prior to the American GI's arrival, as they were also paid more than the average British soldier; however, a portion of his salary was automatically put in savings if it was not being sent to a dependant - so the amount extra was reduced. There was certainly resentment when the Canadians stayed in Britain when the British troops were sent overseas first, leaving most of the Canadians in England. In the early days there were violent fights between the Canadian and British troops when on leave and alcohol was involved. Time and training together reduced some tension. According to The Half-Million: The Canadians in Britain 1939-1946 by C.P. Stacey once any of the three were in actual battle together, any traces of that resentment went away. I expect that post-war resentment was probably kept up by those who didn't actually serve together in conflict.
    While searching for the origin, I also saw it on a site where the phrase was used to describe American forces in Japan and Germany.....
     
  11. Doxie

    Doxie Member

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    Noone can beat American soldiers and Australian civilians though when it comes to acting out on the irritation of too much proximity..

    Battle of Brisbane - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    As one Australian poet said..

    They Saved us from the Japs
    Perhaps
    But at the moment the place is too Yankful
    For us to be sufficiently thankful

    At the end of the war two Australian Red Cross women re-wrote the lyrics to the song "Thanks For The Memories"

    Thanks for the memories
    Of troops who'd been in strife
    Kids who enjoyed life
    Of love affairs
    And foolish cares
    And pictures of your wife!

    Which may be a nice way to look back on the sometimes troubled allied relationship.

    Unfortunately I havent been able to track down the full lyrics, oh how I've tried.. Perhaps one fo you expert Googlers can find it?
     
  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Yes,

    that is the one. Thanx!
     
  13. bigfun

    bigfun Ace

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    Interesting, I also thought, as the saying says, it had to do, in part, with the money the American soldiers had! In a time when there was probably not much cash around for luxuries, that had to make even the homliest looking soldier, attractive.:D
     
  14. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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    True...beer tends to do the same thing for a lot of people these days! :p
     
    bigfun likes this.
  15. bigfun

    bigfun Ace

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    Yep, around here we call them, beer goggles!;)
     

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