Glossary of terms

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C
cipher a secret system of writing used to send encrypted messages
civil war a war or conflict fought between 2 or more different groups of people who live in the same country
civilian describes a person who is not a member of the armed forces
coalition an alliance between two or more nations, groups or political parties, especially for some temporary and specific reason
collectivism the political belief that a country's industries and services should be owned and controlled by the state or by all the people in a country
collier a ship designed to transport coal
commandeer officially take charge of a vehicle, vessel, building, supplies or equipment for a military purpose
commemorate to remember an event or person through a special action or ceremony or a specially created object
commerce raiding a form of naval warfare that disrupt logistics of the enemy on the open sea by attacking its merchant shipping
compensation money or anything given as an equivalent to make amends for losses or damages
conscription when citizens are made to join their country's military force, such as the army
contingent a group of military personnel serving on the same side or for the same cause
convalesce to rest and recover health after an illness or operation
convoy a group of ships with an escort of warships, or a group of vehicles travelling together with a military escort
cordite a smokeless explosive substance used in bombs and guns
cot case a person too ill to leave their bed
counterattack a military attack in response to an attack
coup d'etat overthrowing of an existing government illegally or by force
curfew a law that people must stay home after a particular time at night, often during a war or civilian crisis
D
de-mining the process of removing landmines
decoration an official title or honour given to someone, usually in the form of a medal, as a reward for military bravery
degenerate to become worse in some way
delegation a small group of people sent to a place to have talks with other people as representatives of a larger group of people
demobilise to release troops from military service - demobilisation (noun)
deploy to organise and position troops, weapons or resources ready for action - deployment (noun)
descent a person's family background, especially their nationality or social status
deserter someone who leaves their job in the armed forces without permission
destroyer a small, heavily armed warship
detachment a group of soldiers sent away from the main group to do a special job
digger an Australian or New Zealander, especially a soldier; often used as a term of address
diorama a miniature three-dimensional scene with models of figures arranged against a background
dirigible an airship, such as a zeppelin
disembark to unload goods or passengers from a ship or aeroplane
dismount to get down from a camel, horse, bicycle or armoured vehicle
dispatch a message or report that is sent by army officers or government officials to their headquarters - also 'despatch'
displaced persons who lack a home, through war, political exile, destruction of shelter, or lack of money
displaced person someone who lost their home through war, political exile, destruction of shelter or lack of money
diversionary describes an action to distract the enemy from the main point of attack
dogfighting an aerial battle between opposing fighter planes
dominion a nation that was part of the British Empire but had its own government e.g. Australia from 1901 to 1953
dysentery an infection of the intestine with bacteria or protozoa, characterised by severe diarrhoea
E
egalitarian supporting the idea that all people are equal and should have the same rights and opportunities
embark to load goods or passengers onto a ship or aeroplane
enact to make a proposal into a law
encampment a group of tents in a particular place, especially those used by soldiers
enlist in to join a country's military force, such as the army - enlisted in, enlisting in; also enlistment (noun)
enteric fever another name for typhoid fever, an infection caused by ingestion of Salmonella typhosa bacteria with food or water
escort one or more guards, soldiers, vehicles or vessels who accompany others for protection, guidance or restraint, or as a symbol of honour
eugenics the study of methods to improve the human race by selecting parents who will produce children with desirable traits
euthanise to kill a person or animal painlessly, such as to relieve suffering from an incurable illness