OFF TO THE FRONT
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This is a very rare film because it is only the second known surviving film showing the departure of New Zealand soldiers overseas during the First World War. The fact that the transport ships are still in civilian colours (although a “2” is evident on the side of one of them and may relate to the Troopship number) and the dress of the sentry suggests that this preparation is for the departure of either the Samoan Expeditionary Force that sailed in August 1914, or for the Main Body of the NZEF that sailed in October 1914.
Pan large transport ship berthed at Kings Wharf on the Wellington waterfront; steam wafts over the workers on deck, in the back ground [Shed 5] is visible; two more ships come into view as does Mount Victoria and [Shed 4]. Dockers coaling the ship using large buckets to pour coal into the hold of a ship whilst a sentry stands guard with bayonet fixed over an 18 pounder artillery field gun and limber, that is ready to be stored in the hold once coaling is completed; a military officer watches the process. Soldiers in shirtsleeves and braces throw straw-filled canvas mattresses from the wharf up into the arms of men standing on a lower deck of a ship as they prepare it to become a troop transport.
Notes by Chris Pugsley.
Reference number F38442
Collection Film and Video Collection
Media type Moving Image
Place of Production NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA
Production company Hayward’s Pictures