From Queen Street to the front
Although the details are uncertain, this brief film clip shows the Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment marching down Queen Street on 22 September 1914, after a civic farewell at the Auckland Domain. The New Zealand Herald newspaper reported that “[f]lags were waved, and lusty cheers were given as the troops passed”. These scenes were later included in the 1928 Australian film The Exploits of the Emden. The original footage, like much film from that era, is now long lost.
Household pets join the forces
Ena Ryan of Wellington was a young girl when war was declared in August 1914, but she vividly recalled the excitement of those days. In this 1985 interview she describes watching the Main Body marching through the streets of Wellington to the departing ships. She noticed that one of the men had a kitten buttoned into his tunic. Once they arrived at the battlefront the men adopted other pets, including dogs, donkeys and goats found in and around battlefields. These animals helped to keep up the mens’ spirits, and some became official mascots.
Farewelling troops in Wellington
This rare film records a civic ceremony for New Zealand troops departing for the front. It shows the official farewell to the Wellington Section of the NZ Expeditionary Force on 24 September 1914. The troops are inspected by a group of dignitaries, including Prime Minister William Massey, Lord Liverpool the Governor-General and Major General Sir Alexander Godley. They then march four abreast down Adelaide Road and along Lambton Quay, Wellington’s main shopping street. The men of the NZEF are then seen crammed on board the deck and high up on the rigging of a troopship. Most have happy faces as they await what they expected would be a grand adventure. Contrast this with the more subdued figures of the 6th Reinforcement who appear at the end of the film. They are seen departing for the front in August 1915, when the horrors of the Gallipoli Campaign had become widely known.