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Dust in our ears, eyes, mouth, nose and everywhere

In late 1914 the New Zealand and Australian forces were diverted from their original destination of England to Egypt. There they combined to form the ANZAC Corps that would eventually fight in the Gallipoli campaign. This film shows an activity that became a routine part of soldiers’ life - the troop inspection.

As well as the blazing Egyptian heat, the ANZAC troops had another menace to contend with – dust. Herbert Hart wrote in his diary “[t]he sand is worked into such fine dust near camp, that it now flies everywhere whenever the troops move over it. We had dust in our ears, eyes, mouth, nose and everywhere, it fell from our puggarees [cloth wrapped around the regulation sun helmets], pouches, pockets, putties [long cloth strips wrapped around the calves] or from all our clothes.”

Year:1915

Location:Egypt

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Dust in our ears, eyes, mouth, nose and everywhere

In late 1914 the New Zealand and Australian forces were diverted from their original destination of England to Egypt. There they combined to form the ANZAC Corps that would eventually fight in the Gallipoli campaign. This film shows an activity that became a routine part of soldiers’ life - the troop inspection.

As well as the blazing Egyptian heat, the ANZAC troops had another menace to contend with – dust. Herbert Hart wrote in his diary “[t]he sand is worked into such fine dust near camp, that it now flies everywhere whenever the troops move over it. We had dust in our ears, eyes, mouth, nose and everywhere, it fell from our puggarees [cloth wrapped around the regulation sun helmets], pouches, pockets, putties [long cloth strips wrapped around the calves] or from all our clothes.”


Year: 1915

Length: 03:02

Credits: The cameraman is unknown.

Source: Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Catalogue Reference: F6824 Inspection of the New Zealand and Australian Division in Egypt, March 1915


Location: Egypt


The quote is from John Crawford (ed.), The Devil’s Own War: The First World Diary of Herbert Hart, Auckland 2008, p.49.

This film shows the troop inspection on 28 March 1915, when 20,000 New Zealand and Australian troops paraded for General Sir Ian Hamilton, commander of the Allied Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. This was the last parade of NZEF and AIF troops before their embarkation for Gallipoli in April 1915.

This film was taken by an unknown commercial photographer and sent to the Tourist Department, Wellington. It arrived on 16 July 1915 but this was already too late to capitalise on the local picture market. Our Boys in Egypt had already screened at Wellington’s King's Theatre from 21 April 1915. The advertisement read: 'OUR BOYS IN EGYPT! - A grand parade of N.Z. Forces in Cairo before Major-General Godley, General Birdwood and Mr. T. Mackenzie. Infantry, Mounted, Ambulance, Transport, etc., All N.Z. sons are in it, also the Australian troops.' (Evening Post, 28 April 1915, p.2).

This was one of a number of films showing the New Zealanders and Australians in Egypt that screened in local cinemas from early 1915. The commercial market was as aware as Major-General Godley, the commander of the NZ forces, that the New Zealand public was deeply interested in seeing “their boys” overseas.

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Dust in our ears, eyes, mouth, nose and everywhere

  • Tatown Camp, Egypt

  • 0:00

    Views of Australian and New Zealand Division on parade in Egypt.