Seeing the Sights in Paris
A party of young women show a group of smartly dressed British, Australian, American and New Zealand soldiers the sights of Paris. Insignia on the women’s clothing suggests they are from the Red Cross. In this excerpt, the group walk along a concourse toward the Eiffel Tower. A pan around the party of sightseers shows a smiling, cheerful group. Later on, the group is in front of the Hôtel de Ville, before all climbing into a truck.
When the Armistice was signed in November 1918, there were 56,000 New Zealanders overseas or at sea. Demobilisation was a carefully planned manoeuvre with most troops and nurses returning home during 1919 – though the last New Zealanders did not return home until 1921. Troops were anxious to leave and so, to counter rising tension as soldiers waited to hear when they could go home, activities such as the Inter-Allied Games and sightseeing parties were designed to keep the men occupied.
In this brief clip a group of New Zealand soldiers smile and wave to the camera. They have been invalided out of the war and are on their way home. The camera pans to show “trophies” of war – two soldiers wear gas masks, while a third displays an iron cross – all souvenired from the battlefields, from German soldiers.
Direct to Aussie
This footage shows Australian troops boarding a train in France after the battle of the Somme and some of the worst fighting of World War One. One carriage has ‘Direct to Aussie’ on the side, suggesting the troops are returning home – or perhaps just wishing they were!