The publication of the collection of poems “Barrack-Room Ballads” written in Cockney dialect, brought Rudyard Kipling fame. The second half of this book describes the joys and troubles of a Private, Tommy Atkins, from his days as an army recruit to his retirement from the military. The book was the first in English literature to portray the heroism and quiet devotion to duty of the ordinary British soldier. The Ballads include such famous poems as “Danny Deever,” “Fuzzy-Wuzzy,” “Gunga Din,” and “The Road to Mandalay.”
That’s why a British soldier is referred to as a “Tommy”.