Memorial to the Gallant New Zealanders
Crowds gather to watch the unveiling of the memorial to the “gallant New Zealanders” at Messines Ridge in Belgium on 1 August 1924.
A panning shot reveals a World War One cemetery and rows of graves (presumably of New Zealand soldiers). Soldiers and war veterans walk up a path between the graves. The King of Belgium, Albert I accompanied by the New Zealand High Commissioner, Sir James Allen and General Sir Andrew Russell and other dignitaries gather on the dais for the unveiling of the memorial which is draped with a New Zealand flag.
The Diggers’ March in Sydney
In April 1938, several thousand New Zealand “diggers” sailed from Wellington for Sydney, where they reunited with their Australian “cobbers” of 1914 – 1918 in a grand Anzac Day procession through the city.
The huge march from the Cenotaph to the Domain, where a commemoration service was held, was part of Australia’s 150th anniversary celebrations and some 50,000 returned servicemen took part – with an estimated half a million people lining the Sydney streets.
In this live radio broadcast from the Wellington waterfront, Station 2ZB announcers – who were veterans themselves – capture the cheering, bands and excitement on the docks. New Zealand Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage farewells the old soldiers as they board former World War One troopships – ‘the Monowai’ and ‘the Maunganui’ – for the trip across the Tasman.
Just enough speechifying
In 1912, Sir Thomas Mackenzie, former Prime Minister, was appointed as the New Zealand High Commissioner to London; a post he held until 1920. Mackenzie was particularly concerned about the treatment of New Zealand soldiers and made several visits to see the troops during the war.
In this clip, Mackenzie, with his back to the camera, talks to New Zealanders outside the 2nd New Zealand Field Ambulance station.
During his visit, Mackenzie also joined the 2nd Otago church parade, inspected the New Zealand Engineers and made an address to the 3rd Otago Battalion. At the end of Mackenzie’s visit Major General Sir Andrew Russell noted in his diary: "The whole visit has been successful, fine weather – just enough speechifying but not too much”.
Images of war
A sergeant from the 1st Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade fires rifle grenades from a trench. The work is repetitious and dangerous, as rifle grenades were temperamental – sometimes landing in the trench or exploding in the barrel.
The destructive power of heavy artillery fire is seen in a pan across the pulverised remains of a village – the scene is one of complete desolation. The pan ends on a trench scene, sandbags are piled high and soldiers with their gas mask satchels on their chest descend into a dugout.
A line of soldiers stumbles through a large shell hole, knee-deep in water – it is some 20 meters in diameter and 4 to 5 metres deep. The soldiers are conscious of the camera, however the conditions are not staged – they are typical of those endured by the New Zealand Division in the low-lying trenches of Northern France during the winters of 1916 and 1917. It was not uncommon for men to spend up to eight days at a stretch in these tough conditions.