THE NEW ZEALAND FIELD ARTILLERY IN FRANCE. NEW ZEALAND RIFLE BRIGADE ON THE MARCH
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This film is a amalgamation of scenes from two separate films shot on the Western Front during World War One by the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) Official Photographer Captain Henry A. Sanders over Christmas 1917 and in early 1918. It now survives on two films: this one and NEW ZEALAND FIELD ARTILLERY IN ACTION NEW YEAR'S DAY 1918, held at the Imperial War Museum (IWM 160). It is notable for a number of finely shot scenes, particularly the artillery sequence, while the battalions on the march scenes show the realities of an infantry man’s lot; route-marching on the paved roads and the reaction of the inhabitants in the village they march through.
The opening scenes shows New Zealand Field Artillery horses being watered at a river and fed at horse lines. This is followed by a scene of a gunner officer emerging from a sand bagged command post and directing fire using a megaphone. An 18 pounder fires, viewed from the rear with a detailed close up of the aiming and firing mechanism. A Forward Observation Officer directs fire through his signaller using a field telephone. A soldier emerges from a pillbox and fires a rifle grenade; the recoil knocks his shrapnel helmet off. This is followed by two long sequences of two different battalions marching: one wearing shrapnel helmets through a village and another of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade along a country road. A brief scene of gunners riding their horses bareback. The route march continues. A Christmas scene of gunners being issued parcels by the Battery Quartermaster Sergeant. The film ends with an extended sequence of two 18 pounder guns in the snow firing at an intense rate.
From notes by Chris Pugsley.
Reference number F4340
Collection Film and Video Collection
Media type Moving Image
Place of Production NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA
Production company New Zealand Official War Film
Camera: Henry A. Sanders
Distribution (NZ): New Zealand Picture Supplies
Distribution (UK): Pathe Freres