Glossary of terms

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pinnace a small boat carried on a large ship, used to carry goods and people from the ship to the shore
plateau a large area of high and fairly flat land
plebiscite a direct vote by the people of a country or region in which they say whether they agree or disagree with a particular policy
prisoners of war a person who is held captive by a belligerent power, such as their enemy, during or after an armed conflict
promontory a cliff or high point of land that points out into the sea
Protection Acts state-based laws of the 1800s and 1900s that forced First Australians to live under the control of a legal protector who managed many aspects of their lives, such as employment and marriage
Protestant a Christian who belongs to the branch of the Christian church that separated from the Catholic Church in the 16th century
protocol a system of rules about the correct way to act in formal situations
quarantine method of keeping some people or animals separate from others for a set period of time, usually to prevent spread of disease in a population
rating a junior enlisted member of a navy who is not a warrant officer or commissioned officer
reconnaissance an activity to obtain military information about a place by sending soldiers or planes there or by using satellite data
referendum a national vote for people to decide whether or not they agree with a policy
reinforcements extra people in a military force who are sent to help or to replace those who have been killed or wounded
reparation a sum of money paid after a war by the defeated country for the damage and injuries it caused in other countries
repatriation returning a veteran home after they have been injured, become sick or been killed in another country; also refers to returning a military force when conflict has ceased
sabotage to deliberately damage or destroy an object during a war
salvage to save useful or valuable items from a damaged ship or building
salvo the firing of several guns or missiles at the same time in a battle
sapper a soldier whose job is to do building, digging and similar construction work
scapegoat a person who is publicly blamed for something bad that has happened, even though it was not their fault
screening a military tactic that uses either a body of cavalry to screen the advance of an attacking infantry force or a naval force to protect the main body of ships
scuttle to sink a ship deliberately
serge a strong woollen cloth used to make clothes, such as nurses' uniform dresses
shell a metal container full of an explosive substance and fired from a large gun; (verb) to fire shells at something from a large gun - shelled, shelling, shellfire
shell shock a confused or nervous mental condition of people who have been under fire in a war
shrapnel consists of small pieces of metal that are scattered from exploding bombs or shells
siege a military tactic where soldiers surround a place in an attempt to force its people to come out or give up control of the place
signaller a radio or telephone operator in the armed forces who relays messages from the battle field to headquarters, governments or non-government organisations
skirmish a small short-lived military battle
smoke shell a shell filled with white phosphorus fired by artillery to screen advancing troops
sniper a person who shoots at people from a hidden position
Somme a river in northern France where battles took place during World War I
squalor very dirty, unpleasant conditions
stalemate a military situation where two opposing forces find that further action is either impossible or pointless
stall a compartment in a stable or shed for confining or feeding an animal
Stolen Generations describes the children of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were forcibly removed from their families from the mid-1800s to the 1970s under various federal and state laws
strafe to attack a place from an aircraft by flying low and firing a lot of bullets - also 'ground strafing'
stretcher case someone who has to be taken away on a stretcher because they are too injured or sick to walk
strong-point a crucial point in a defensive position, usually strongly fortified and heavily armed, and protected by other positions nearby
surrender to give up to an enemy or to relinquish control or power over something
theatre of area or region where a war or conflict is happening, on land, on the sea or in the sky
torpedo a bomb that is shaped like a tube and travels under water
tourniquet a strip of cloth tied tightly around an injured arm or leg to stop bleeding
tow a towboat or tug used for pushing a barge or group of barges
transport a military vehicle, especially a ship or plane, that's used to carry soldiers or equipment
traverse a protective bank or other barrier across a trench
treaty a written agreement between countries to show they agree a particular action or to help each other
triage the practice of sorting battle casualties (sick and wounded people) into categories of priority for treatment
troopship a ship that carries a large number of soldiers from one place to another
Turk a person from the principal ethnic group of Turkey or, formerly, the Ottoman Empire; a Turkic-speaking person