Australian soldiers in France

Prime minister William (Billy) Hughes, Sir General Rawlinson and Major General Monash visited AIF soldiers in bombed out Péronne, Somme, France, July 1918. For almost the whole of the war, the town of Péronne was occupied by German troops; it was liberated by Australian troops on 2 September 1918.

Year:1917-1918

Location:Somme region, France.

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Australian soldiers in France

Prime minister William (Billy) Hughes, Sir General Rawlinson and Major General Monash visited AIF soldiers in bombed out Péronne, Somme, France, July 1918. For almost the whole of the war, the town of Péronne was occupied by German troops; it was liberated by Australian troops on 2 September 1918.


Year: 1917-1918

Length: 02:20

Source: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

Catalogue Reference: NFSA title 14054


People: Prime Minister William Morris (Billy) Hughes, Sir General Rawlinson, Major General Monash

Location: Somme region, France.

Tags: Anzacs, France, Somme, POW’s, Prime Minister, William Hughes, Billy Hughes

Subject: Australian troops in France


This documentary film shows Australian soldiers helping refugees to evacuate. Many have bundled up their possessions onto carts being pulled by the soldiers. Meanwhile the fighting continues with the firing of a Stokes 3" trench mortar. Germans soldiers, exhausted and injured, seem relieved to become prisoners of war. One soldier, eating a sandwich, comically rubs his stomach in satisfaction. These small moments really bring archival footage to life, and the people in them suddenly seem to reach out to us over time and space. 

Prime minister William (Billy) Hughes, Sir General Rawlinson and Major General Monash are seen visiting Australian AIF soldiers in bombed out Péronne, Somme, France, July 1918. The troops genuinely appreciate the occasion. For almost the whole of the war, the town of Péronne was occupied by German troops. Life under German rule deeply affected the inhabitants, and the town suffered heavily with bombardments, fire and destruction. Between 1914 and 1918, almost 30% of the town’s inhabitants became civilian victims of the war. Every day, the bells of the Town Hall rang out “La Madelon”, a popular French song from the Great War. Péronne was finally liberated on 2 September 1918 by Australian troops.

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Australian soldiers in France

  • Somme region, France.

  • 0:00

    Australian soldiers assist evacuees with possessions on a road in France

  • 0:21

    Australian soldiers gathering equipment

  • 0:31

    Australian soldiers carrying equipment on top of trenches

  • 0:49

    Soldiers firing trench mortar

  • 0:57

    Explosions from trench mortar

  • 1:00

    German prisoners being marched

  • 1:10

    German prisoners provided with provisions

  • 1:26

    Prime Minister Billy Hughes, Sir General Rawlinson and Major General Monash visiting Australian AIF soldiers in bombed out Péronne, Somme, France

  • 1:47

    Australian troops outside Headquarters

  • 1:59

    Australian troops resting