Bill_Pope_s__Deolali_Char_Wallah_-1
At Deolali Camp

At the weekend the word "doolally' cropped up in conversation to describe someone who is a little mad or soft in the head.

I said I remembered it from my childhood as "Doolally Tat" - but I was wrong.

The expression is "Doolally Tap".

This is from Wikipedia:

Originally British slang "doolally tap", loosely meaning "camp fever", referring to the apparent madness of men waiting for ships back to Britain after finishing their tour of duty in India at the British Army transit camp, Deolali.

Men were said to have "doolally tap".

By the 1940s this had been widely shortened to just "gone dolally" or just "dolally", an adjective meaning "mad" or "eccentric".

Also used in the south to refer to people. "Look at doolally over there."

There are interesting articles at:

http://www.far-eastern-heroes.org.uk/alberts_war/html/doolally_tap.htm

and

http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-doo1.htm