Sights and Sounds of the First World War

BY STEPHEN GROENEWEGEN

New film and sound recordings have been added to the Anzac Sight Sound website to coincide with the centenary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June, contributing to the final phase of First World War commemorations.

Signing the Treaty

The following short newsreel clip shows a banner proclaiming ‘Honneur et Patrie’ (Honour and Fatherland), the Treaty of Versailles as signed by the Allied powers, and delegates departing the Paris Peace Conference.

Leaders walking past the camera include US President Woodrow Wilson, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau and Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes (seen at the far right of the frame at the very start of the procession):

The Red Cross in Action

The new material covers the postwar period from the demobilisation of Australian and New Zealand troops, to the dedication of war memorials in France and Belgium and the return to normal life for former soldiers.

In this clip frpom c1919, nurses from the Australian Red Cross serve tea and refreshments to returned soldiers, including those injured and in convalescence:

A comprehensive history

The Anzac Sight Sound website now forms a comprehensive audiovisual history of the New Zealand and Australian experience of the First World War.

A five-year project between the NFSA and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, the site contains more than 250 unique film and sound recordings ranging from the pre-war arms race to the ongoing postwar commemorations of Anzac Day.

Many of the pieces of film showcased on the website were themselves repatriated to New Zealand and Australia from European archives in the course of the project. These include several Pathé newsreel films such as a digital copy of Paris Leave Club, which shows a group of New Zealand, Australian and American soldiers touring the sights of Paris in the company of some female nurses, probably not long after the Armistice in early 1919.

The latest uploads constitute the last material to be added to the site but Anzac Sight Sound will remain as an invaluable resource for educators, researchers, historians and the general public, documenting the totality of wartime experience both at the battlefronts and at home.

Visit the AnzacSightSound website.