The dhobi wallah
A soldier complaining to the dhobi wallah

“Look here sunshine – this is a scorch mark.”

A sodier is complaing to the laundryman

It looks as if this Indian dhobi man is in real trouble for the quality of his work and is making the “usual excuses”! Laundry men were usually called ‘dhobi-wallahs’ by soldiers of the British Army. This was from days of service in India. The word dhobi means laundry, and a wallah is a person.

Dhobi Ghaut near Orchard Road in Singapore is named after the laundry facilities which used to be there in days gone by.

Dhobi dayThe photograph on the left shows a 1940s National Serviceman doing his dhobi at Fort Siloso. The tent on the left is the Dining Tent. At the top of the steep bank is Officers’ accommodation.

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