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Images of war

A sergeant from the 1st battalion, NZ Rifle brigade fires rifle grenades from a trench, the work is repetitious and dangerous as rifle grenades were temperamental sometimes landing in the trench, or exploding in the barrel. 

The destructive power of heavy artillery fire is seen in a pan across the pulverised remains of a village, the scene is one of complete desolation. The pan ends on a trench scene, sandbags are piled high and soldiers with their gas mask satchels on their chest descend into a dugout.

A line of soldiers stumble through a large shell hole knee-deep in water, it is some 20 meters in diameter and 4-5 metres deep. The soldiers are conscious of the camera however the conditions are not staged, they are typical of those endured by the NZ Division in the low-lying trenches of Northern France during the winters of 1916 and 1917. It was not uncommon for men to spend up to eight days at a stretch in these tough conditions.

Year:1917

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Images of war

A sergeant from the 1st battalion, NZ Rifle brigade fires rifle grenades from a trench, the work is repetitious and dangerous as rifle grenades were temperamental sometimes landing in the trench, or exploding in the barrel. 

The destructive power of heavy artillery fire is seen in a pan across the pulverised remains of a village, the scene is one of complete desolation. The pan ends on a trench scene, sandbags are piled high and soldiers with their gas mask satchels on their chest descend into a dugout.

A line of soldiers stumble through a large shell hole knee-deep in water, it is some 20 meters in diameter and 4-5 metres deep. The soldiers are conscious of the camera however the conditions are not staged, they are typical of those endured by the NZ Division in the low-lying trenches of Northern France during the winters of 1916 and 1917. It was not uncommon for men to spend up to eight days at a stretch in these tough conditions.


Year: 1917

Length: 3:12

Production Company: Topical Film Company

Source: Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Catalogue Reference: Review of New Zealand Troops By Hon Walter Long


Tags: Trench conditions, Lewis Gun, Shell holes

Subject: World War 1914-1916, New Zealand, Trench conditions, Lewis gun


The first known film of NZ Trench conditions on the Western Front. The film opens with visit of Hon Sir Walter Long, Secretary of State for Colonial Affairs, being greeted by the NZ Divisional Commander, Major General Sir Andrew Russell.  At 10:00am on 9 March 1917, on the main road Armentieres Bailleul, they inspect battalions of Brigadier General W G Braithwaite's 2nd NZ Infantry Brigade and other units of the division including the NZ Pioneer Battalion.  Long is escorted by Major P H Buck (Te Rangi Hiroa), the Pioneer Battalion 2IC. The film also includes scenes of a Lewis gun firing, and a NZ Field Battery of 18 pounders firing from concealed positions in buildings in a village. The film concludes with scenes from the NZ Divisional "All Blacks" playing the 38th (Welsh) Division on 15 March 1917, a game won by the New Zealanders, 10-3.  It is likely that this was filmed by a British Official Cameraman attached to the Division for the purpose.

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