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This film records the march of the New Zealand Division across the German frontier and into Cologne on 26 December 1918, where they formed part of the Allied Occupation Forces after the Armistice. “The Chronicles of the NZEF” reported:

“By eleven o'clock we had reached the outskirts of Cologne and entered it through the beautiful suburbs of Lindenthal, passing along many of the main thoroughfares crowded with civilians. All were fashionably dressed, and showed few signs of the hardships of which we had heard. On past the Opernhaus we marched, along the spacious Hohenzollern Ring, the central railway station, passed beneath the glorious cathedral, then across the Rhine by the Hohenzollern Bridge. It is a massive structure of stone, iron girders and spans carrying railway, tramway, wheeled and foot traffic. As the column left the bridge and entered the eastern suburbs of Cologne, the official photographer of the Division took a cinematograph film of the batteries. A more interesting spot could not have been chosen, for it has as a background the towers of the Hohenzollern Bridge and the double steeples of the Cathedral.” (”With the Artillery to the Rhine”, Chronicles of the NZEF, Vol.V, no.612, 254 January 1919, p.303)


“Later in the day the people of Cologne witnessed a unique scene. We partook of the midday meal in one of the main thoroughfares-- Kaiser Wilhelm Strasse-- and thousands of citizens watched with interest...” (The Pilgrims, 2 Auckland Battalion”, Chronicles of the NZEF, Vol. V, no.61, 24 January 1919, p.302)

This film is significant for a number of reasons. It is one of the only known surviving film of New Zealanders in Germany as part of the Army of Occupation at the end of World War One. Similarly, it includes the only surviving YMCA segments of the many taken showing the work of the YMCA with New Zealand troops during the War. Finally, it was the last film shot by Captain H. A. Sanders as Official Photographer of the NZEF before he was demobilised in January 1918.

The film begins with the infantry of the division in column crossing through one of the frontier tours. Repeated shots of the march of the Division across the Hohenzollern Bridge with Cologne Cathedral in the background are then shown. It then shifts to a German restaurant at Ehrenfield, Cologne, taken over as a NZ YMCA with a line of 'diggers' filing past for a 'buckshee stunt' (or free) helping of bread, cakes, coffee or cocoa. It then shows scenes at the railway marshalling yards where laden divisional transport and guns are unloaded, troop trains arrive and troops detrain.

From notes by Chris Pugsley.

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Year 1919

Reference number F4555

Collection Film and Video Collection

Media type Moving Image

Place of Production NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA

Genre Actuality

Duration 0:12:01

Production company New Zealand Official War Film

Credits Camera: Henry A. Sanders
Distribution (NZ): New Zealand Picture Supplies
Distribution (UK): Pathe Freres

Related Link Watch this film online: IWM 385 - NEW ZEALANDERS AT THE FRONT

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