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.
Goodbye to Blighty
The evocative title for Pathé Gazette No. 535 says it all – Liverpool Good-bye to ‘Blighty’ – (New Zealand Soldiers Leave England with their Wives).
This short, 23-second clip, shows a passenger ship lined with New Zealand soldiers and their wives, waving goodbye. Quay-side friends and family members wave farewell – among those on shore are several New Zealanders identifiable in their lemon squeezer hats.
For New Zealand servicemen who had married ‘war brides’ – predominantly women from Britain and Europe – where possible the Defence Department arranged for the passage of both wives and children so that they could go to their new home on the demobilisation ships with their Kiwi husbands.
Te Hokinga Mai Te Hokowhitu-a-Tū
Look at the smiling soldiers, jam-packed along the ship’s rail, the Māori Pioneer Battalion is home at last.
After a 36-day journey from Liverpool, the SS Westmoreland arrived in Auckland harbour on the evening of Saturday 5 April 1919. It berthed the following morning and 1,033 personnel disembarked to great fanfare – guns fired a salute, all the ships in the harbour sounded their sirens and horns, three bands played patriotic music and dignitaries greeted the men with brief speeches.
Renowned Te Arawa leader Mita Taupopoki can be seen with his distinctive tāniko bonnet towards the end of the film clip. One of the haka being performed is the Ngāpuhi war cry “Ka eke te wīwī, ka eke te wāwā” – complete with the leaping in unison and brandishing of taiaha and tewhatewha fighting staffs.
Following the reception at the wharf the Battalion marched to a pōwhiri at Auckland Domain. Tribes from all over the country gathered to welcome the men home, along with thousands of spectators.
Of the 43,572 servicemen and nurses who returned home in 63 demobilisation sailings, only the Māori Pioneer Battalion returned together, as a complete unit.
Invested at Buckingham Palace
London – 3 May 1919 – crowds gather outside Buckingham Palace in London for an investiture by his Majesty King George V. Among the nurses and soldiers receiving awards and honours is a smartly dressed New Zealand officer in his lemon squeezer hat.
On the dais are Queen Mary and members of the royal household. In front stand Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig and his Generals – Plumer and Sir William Birdwood. Winston Churchill, then Secretary of State for War, stands proudly in morning suit and top hat.
After the ceremony, the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) Depot Band march past, followed by the New Zealand Parade Commander. Behind them are the New Zealand Field Artillery – note the infantry with their rifles and bayonets. Next, the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) march past. Mounted officers of the AIF and the Australian Light Horse trot by, and the crowd cheers and waves, then the AIF band march past – they are marching easy – and are followed by the Australian infantry.
Early newsreels: A 1915 Pathé Animated Gazette
People went to cinemas during the war to be entertained, but moving-pictures also played an important role in providing cinema-goers with news and information from abroad. Early newsreels, or topical films, were an important part of the typical cinema programme of the time.
This film is an example of a full-length Pathé Animated Gazette newsreel that was shown during the war. It demonstrates the contents of these types of films and how they mixed serious topics with more light-hearted footage: scenes of the Algerian Native Cavalry in Flanders, a brief glimpse of King George V and Queen Mary making their way through packed London Streets to a service at St Paul’s Cathedral, the opening of a New Zealand military hospital, and Zouaves (Algerian French Infantry).