When you hear the term doughboy, you may think of an adorable white figure with a chef’s hat. But did you know that during World War I, American soldiers carried the nickname and much more?
How American soldiers came to be called “doughboys” during WWI is not entirely known. Some speculate that the term came from the Mexican War of 1846-48. Soldiers were forced to march down dusty roads covering them in a layer of filth. The soldiers “traveled south of the border to fight rebel Pancho Villa. Covered in white adobe dust, the foot soldiers were called “adobes” or “dobies” by mounted troops. Within a few months, these dobies, or Doughboys, were redeployed to Europe,” according to the National WWI Museum and Memorial website.
Another theory hales from the American journalist and lexicographer H.L. Mencken who claimed the nickname derived from Continental Army soldiers. The soldiers would put clay on the piping of their uniforms to keep it white. When the clay got wet it would turn into “doughy blobs,” supposedly leading to the doughboy moniker, according to History.com.
On Saturday, the Veterans Museum of Broomfield will host Sven Hillring — a local living historian and reenactor — who will discuss the life of a doughboy.
The theme of the talk will focus on what the men carried as the weapons and accoutrements had drastically changed in the time between WWI and the Civil War.
Hillring has “developed a passion for the evolving equipment of the U.S. soldier. With his personal collection and a few borrowed items, he will show the highlights of the development of the doughboy’s combat load. He will also show some of the items carried by “sanitary troopers” or “aidmen” as this was an important period in the development of battlefield Medicine,” states a news release from the museum.
The discussion will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Veterans Museum Broomfield, located at 12 Garden Center.