30th May 1944

Still very hot.  Got a lot of office letters done today.  Went to see Father.  No more pains, thank God.  Meant to go again this evening, but went to tea with Diana instead.  She was conscientiously worried because she had not gone to Canteen duty, my conscience itched because I had not gone home.  Went to King’s Head Meadow, and sat on a fence for an hour, just behind the Infirmary where Mother died.

No sign of rain, drought very bad.  There will be no hay this year.

Noticed that a new concrete road is being laid across the bombed site at St. Botolph’s corner, to make easy access into the Britannia Works behind the station.

Raid on S.W. England last night, but none down.

Heard this about the Americans – There’s three things wrong with them, they’re over paid, over sexed and over here.


Anonymous said...


Very interesting that in today’s entry ER notes that he has heard the phrase of the American GIs being

‘over paid, over sexed and over here.’

This is, to older generations and those with an interest in WWII, well known; but I was curious to know when it was first referred to. Various Websites I looked at all explain it (and the GI’s rejoinder that the British were ‘underpaid, undersexed and under Eisenhower.’ which I admit I had not heard before) but only one provides a direct reference to its use. The site The Phrase Finder (http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/oversexed-overpaid-and-over-here.html)
states that –

‘…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."’

Resorting to books, Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable doesn’t record it and the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations attributes it to Tommy Trinder, but mentions he probably didn’t coin it (as does The Phrase Finder Website.)

Could this mean that ER’s note is the first actual record of the phrase?

The other side of what lay behind the phrase I can relate from my mother and her mother’s experience.

During WWII they both lived in Dunmow (my mother already worked there) evacuating from Clacton on Sea. When the Americans arrived in East Anglia in greater numbers they became friends with a number of them through local dances etc.

One result of this was they were given food supplies from the nearby USA base, my grandmother told me that this was never done directly – she would just open her back door every morning and some mornings there would food left on the doorstep!

One of the GIs came to see my grandmother early on in their friendship and asked her it she would write a letter to his mother explaining how he was behaving himself and not getting drunk or involved with ‘loose’ women. He told my grandmother that his mother had heard such terrible stories in America about how British women were ‘throwing’ themselves at GIs in return for the plentiful supplies available at the US bases. My grandmother did so (the friendship endures, the GI died a couple of years back but I am still in contact with his widow every Christmas.) Since discovering this there has been, as I’m sure you know, with the recent release of classified documents concerns by the American government to the British government over women harassing GIs for this very reason!

Mike Dennis

E J Rudsdale said...

Hi Mike,
Many thanks for your very interesting comments on this diary entry. When I published it, I wondered when the phrase 'overpaid, oversexed and over here' was first used in relation to the American forces and it would be fascinating to find out if this phrase became current in 1944 and whether Rudsdale was among the first to record it.

I was also so interested to hear your family's account of their friendship with the GIs and so glad to the friendship has endured over the subsequent years. Quite clearly there were as many misunderstandings between the two cultures as there were genuine friendships formed.

Thanks for sharing this information with us and for your research, Best wishes, Catherine