Film: trench life in the First World War

This film shows conditions on the Western Front during the First World War. It includes the recollections of New Zealand veterans who were there.

Transcript

Narrator: Down on the ground, winter conditions made life unbearable.

NZ soldier 1: Ghastly, hell. Just mud mud mud. Trenches half full of mud. And you’re wet through, oh all the time.

NZ soldier 2: Oh, frightful. You’ve no idea what it was like. You lived in dugouts and you were well over your ankles and mud all the time. You had no protection, you just had a ground sheet over you, you would wake up in the morning with the snow over your feet, and you were everlastingly in dampness.

Narrator: Messines, the Somme 1916 and 1918, Passchendaele, Ypres, the Hindenburg Line, Le Quesnoy. The cost of maintaining our division in France for two and a half years was appalling. Our total casualties were 18,500 dead, nearly 50,000 wounded – many twice or more. This was a terrible price to pay, our population then was only just over a million.

Credit

Film extract from The years back episode 1: the twentieth century, produced by the New Zealand Film Unit, 1973

Video supplied courtesy of Archives New Zealand. Not to be reproduced without permission of the chief archivist.

How to cite this page: 'Film: trench life in the First World War', URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/video/film-trench-life-in-the-first-world-war, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 24-Oct-2013

Community contributions


Kay Henare
22 Apr 2013

My grandfather Private Enoka Tuatara 7/2168 NZ Expeditionary Force - wondered if you could tell me did you go to the First World War, I have a file on him, but our family is having a Tuatara Reunion Feb-March 2014 & as the eldest of his grandchildren I am in the process of researching and putting in place a picture & story on him. I would gladly appreciate any other information you may have on him. Questions, where was he posted, year & was he in the Maori Pioneer Battalion, I believe he was as a book that came out The Maori in the Great War by James Cowan, unfortunately the book I have doesn't state his name in that book, but the same book with a different cover page same name same author his name is mentioned. Appreciate hearing from you.

What do you know?