Honk!: The voice of the Benzine Lancers


What is it?

Honk was a trench journal published by the Benzine Lancers although this first issue was published on-board the Lancers’ troopship. As with most trench journals, ‘Honk!’ printed verse and humorous notes from the trenches and also included news from home. Trench journals were notorious for their wit and black humour, hardly surprising given the circumstances of those providing material for them. They provide an important insight into how people looked at and read about life to keep their spirits up. 

Mouthpiece of the Diggers

‘Digger’ was a colloquial name applied to Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) personnel that developed during the war (although the term was already applied to miners back in Australia and New Zealand). Diggers’ language and slang was different from that of other forces from the British Empire and journals such as ‘Honk!’ preserve the language and irreverence of the group. A sentiment summed up by the editor in issue 1 who, seeking to stem any questions about why the soldiers were abroad and what the meaning of life may be, merely printed, in very large type, DUNNO!

Full title:
Honk! The voice of the Benzine Lancers
On board troopship A40 and in France
1915 - 1918
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
PP.4039.wdc. (1)

Full catalogue details

Related articles


Article by:
Julian Walker
Life as a soldier

Julian Walker considers the presence and variety of swearing within World War One ranks and how its use bonded or divided soldiers.

Experiences of colonial troops

Article by:
Santanu Das
Race, empire and colonial troops

Dr Santanu Das gives an overview of the numbers and roles of colonial troops in World War One. Where did colonial troops serve and how was 'race' used as a factor in military policy?

Related collection items