Australian forces in France 1916

Running time
5 min 38 sec
Place made
Shows scenes of many branches of the Australian Army in France including artillery action (12-inch howitzers and 18 pounders) and men working, training and relaxing behind the lines. General [Sir William] Birdwood watches a tree felling contest held in a French forest between Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders. West Australians move up toward the trenches. Chaplain holds divine service the day before battle. [AWM F00050]

Text description

[On a black screen white text reads, "After one of the fiercest struggles in history the Australians stormed and captured the great German stronghold of Pozieres. A few of the prisoners arrive after the great fight, taken by the Western Australians, Tasmanians, South Australians and Queenslanders at Mouquet Farm."

Prisoners wearing military uniforms but no hats queue behind a truck. Some wear bandages, mostly on their arms and heads. Australian soldiers check the prisoners, then guide them up a ladder into the back of a truck. Near trees officers stand talking. Soldiers help wounded prisoners down from the truck. A prisoner staring at the camera wears a tag on the front of his tunic. Later, three lines of prisoners wait behind a truck, many wear flat hats or berets. They climb the short ladder into the back. A prisoner stands waiting as an officer writes. The officer tears a page from his notebook and hands it to the prisoner. Throwing up pale clouds, a truck drives off. Soldiers stand on the open truck ramp. Prisoners sit on the floor. Soldiers watch the truck turn a corner.

Text card: After its capture the Germans unsuccessfully counter-attack and heavily shell our men in possession of the village.

Australian soldiers gathered by equipment gaze out over fields towards dark plumes of smoke on the horizon. Dirt roads curve across a dark field. Smoke drifts along a horizon. A wooden cross stands in a rugged field. Smoke clouds billow on the distant horizon. Bicycles lie on their sides in the dirt. Smoke rises from beyond a nearby ridge.

Text card: The roll call of a New South Wales Battalion.

Among trees soldiers in slouch hats stand in a long line.

Text card: Arriving at the Casualty Clearing Station.

Soldiers stand by a truck. Stretchers are carried past. Three soldiers climb from the truck. One soldier helps carry their bags away. Men covered in blankets are eased from a truck on stretchers and carried off. Two tiers of shelves line the sides of the truck. The canvas side of the truck is printed with a cross inside a white circle. A patient looks around as he's carried away. Soldiers watch sombrely. A woman and two children stand watching. Boys in dark uniforms hurry past. Rifles lean on a red brick building. Soldiers carry a stretcher out through a door. The figure on top is shrouded in a blanket.

Text card: Scenes inside the hospital.

In a sunny room, white enamel dishes are arranged on a table. Other containers and equipment cover the table and another table under the window. A man quickly washes his hand in a dish, then turns away and works out of sight. Two medics work on a patient. One medic holds his hand on the patient's chest. The other medic works with his face close to the patient's torso. A nurse wearing a long white headdress stands in a sunny ward. Beds line the wall. The sun shines through large windows. A patient with a bandaged head lies back on his bed. The nurse leans over the patient in the next bed. He shifts under the blanket. A nurse dresses a soldier's foot. In full uniform, he sits with his leg up on a bed. Behind him, other soldiers sit around a table. She wears a large white wraparound apron.

Text card: All honour to the glorious dead, they have given their lives for the Empire that it may live.

Soldiers in various states of dress stand around a grave as an officer reads from a book. The men hold their hats by their sides or behind their backs. Behind them, a horse-drawn cart throws up dust clouds which shroud a nearby cross. The officer tucks the book in his breast pocket. Soldiers put on their hats. Some peer down into the grave. A soldier in his shirtsleeves hands the officer equipment.

The Rising Sun badge appears in white on a black screen. A semicircle of sword and bayonet blades arches over a crown. Below, two curved scrolls read "Australian Commonwealth Military Forces".]

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