Whizzbangs what, why, when

This is to explain our section ‘Choice Whizzbangs‘. Whizzbangs first appear in our regular newsletters and we then reload most of them as Choice Whizzbangs. If you need the source for a particular Whizzbang you can usually find it by using our Search function, which will take you to the original Whizzbang in a dated newsletter.

‘Whizzbang’ in military parlance means ‘a small-calibre World War I [German] shell that, when discharged, travelled at such a high velocity that the sound of its flight was heard only an instant, if at all, before the sound of its explosion’. A couple of World War I trench songs went like this:

Far, far from Wipers

Far, far from Wipers I long to be.
Where German snipers can’t get at me.
Dark is my dugout, cold are my feet.
Waiting for Whizzbangs to send me to sleep.

Wipers = Ypres now Ieper.

I want to go home

I don’t want to go in the trenches no more,
Where whizzbangs and shrapnel they whistle and roar.
Take me over the see, where the Alleyman can’t get at me.
Oh my, I don’t want to die, I want to go home.

I want to go home, I want to go home.
I don’t want to visit la Belle France no more,
For oh the Jack Johnsons they make such a roar.
Take me over the sea, where the snipers they can’t get at me.
Oh my, I don’t want to die, I want to go home.

Alleyman = German (from Fr. Allemagne); Jack Johnson = heavy shell (from a boxer of the same name).

E03438The Whizzbangs, concert party of the 1st Australian General Hospital, Rouen, France, September 1918 (Australian War Memorial E03438)

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