Slang of the First World War
The "No. 9" Pill

Did you know the excessive “prescribing” of “No. 9” pills by military doctors resulted in the troops mockingly depicting it as a cure-all for the common soldier’s many ailments? In reality, the “No. 9” was “a universal laxative pill, given when no other remedy was deemed suitable. It gave rise to the bingo call ‘Doctor’s orders – number nine.’ ” (Pegler, Soldier’s Songs and Slang of the Great War, p. 135). Today’s image is meant to be a comical advertisement for the “No. 9”, and comes from the Christmas 1916 / New Year 1917 trench publication of the 5th (Western Cavalry) Battalion!

“The Pill of the Period”
Credit: Library And Archives Canada, Inventory no.: 7322, Volume 5078, MIKAN no. 4167959, “Garland From The Front (5th Battalion) – 1916-1917 Christmas and New Years edition.”, p. 2.