This is the first known film of New Zealand trench conditions on the Western Front during World War One.
The film opens with a visit to New Zealand troops by Hon Sir Walter Long, Secretary of State for Colonial Affairs, on 9 March 1917. Long is greeted by Major General Sir Andrew Russell, Divisional Commander. They inspect the 2nd New Zealand Infantry Brigade and other units including the New Zealand Pioneer Battalion, Precursor to the the Maori Battalion established in WW2. Long is escorted by Major Peter H. Buck (Te Rangi Hiroa).
This is followed by scenes in a New Zealand trench, including: rifle grenades being fired; a Lewis gun firing; pan of a ruined village in no man’s land; soldiers walking through a water-filled crater; soldiers marching through forest; a Field Battery of 18 pounder guns firing from concealed positions in buildings in a village; shellfire in no man’s land.
It concludes with scenes from the rugby game between the New Zealand Divisional “All Blacks” and the 38th (Welsh) Division on 15 March 1917, a game won by NZ 10-3.
Titles are scratched on the negative at the start of each section and the film was the result of a careful programme by the New Zealand Division which set out the events to be filmed. It is likely that this was filmed by a British Official Cameraman attached to the Division.
From notes by Chris Pugsley.