Australian pressmen visit the Australian front

Running time
8 min 24 sec
Date made
Place made
France: Nord Pas de Calais, Pas de Calais, Arras, Vimy, Vimy Ridge
Australian War Memorial
Australian and British newspaper editors and war correspondents visit the Australian forces in France, where they view and enter old trenches near Biaches and watch artillery barrages laid down by the Australian artillery in the Mont St Quentin sector. The press later viewed the tank school and the dog training school at the Base Depot, Etaples. Field Marshal Earl Haig [Commander in chief, British Expeditionary Force] gave [a] party, which included Mr Geoffrey Fairfax and Sir Keith Murdoch. The party then travelled by motor car to Arras where they viewed the ruined cathedral. [AWM F00046]

Text description

[On a black text card the words "Australian Pressmen Visit the Australian Front" appear above a Rising Sun badge.

Text card: The arrival of the Australian Editors at Corps Headquarters.

Near cars, men in civilian suits and hats shake hands with soldiers. As they head upstairs into a building, some stop and chat with soldiers and shake hands.

Text card: Leaving Corps Headquarters for a tour of the recently won territory.

An officer follows a reporter into the back of a car. Another officer holding documents shakes hands then sits up front. He unfolds a map as a soldier drives the car away. More reporters and soldiers follow in open cars.

Text card: Visiting the trenches which were a few days before in the enemy's hands, and watching a barrage put down by the Australian artillery.

A soldier and a man in a long coat and helmet lean on the side of a trench and peer into No-Man's-Land. Across the barren plain dark smoke drifts near the ground and high in the air. A reporter sits near a trench. A burly soldier steps onto a foothold in the trench wall, then up out of the trench. A reporter in suit and helmet follows hesitantly. The reporter wears a pouch across his chest.

Text card: ETAPLES. Visit to the tank school.

Reporters in suits and hats are ushered along a path by an officer. Behind them, tanks stand in a row. Reporters move across ground furrowed with tank tracks. They watch a tank trundle away. An officer heads toward the tank. the reporters follow.

Text card: Dog's training school.

Soldiers sit at the top of a grassy slope. About a dozen reporters stand nearby. A dog wearing a vest races up the slope to a soldier who has a hand held out. As the dog eats from his hand, the soldier grabs the dog's collar. A soldier comes up the slope and leads the dog away. As he talks, an officer points a stick down the slope.

Two trainers walk four dogs across barren slopes past a sandbagged dugout. A trainer sends a dog running down into a barren gully. The dog searches the gully and disappears over a rise. Sitting at the top of the slope, reporters watch a dog race back through the gully to the trainer who pats him thoroughly. A flag is stuck in the ground nearby. A soldier grabs it and hurries to the top of the hill. The trainer quickly brings the dogs together. At the top of the hill, a third soldier gestures. The flag is raised.

Text card: Bombing practice is frequently made during the dog's mealtime. In this way the dogs are accustomed to associate the two together.

In a yard a dog sit outside one of many kennels. A short distance away smoke billows from a sandbagged dugout. Reporters watch. Near the kennels a small structure in a dugout suddenly billows smoke. A dog looks around. Thick white smoke drifts past reporters and a domed Nissen hut. A moustachioed officer strides away.

Text card: Sir Douglas Haig.

A dignified officer with a neat moustache moves from a building and joins the reporters. They gather around him for a group photo. Haig beckons and ushers two men to the front. The camera pans along the large group. As the group breaks up, reporters tip their hats to Haig.

Text card: Arras.

Haig stands with the reporters. Standing by a large pile of rubble, reporters and soldiers stare up at the tall columns of a building. Some pillars are pockmarked. An officer leads the reporters past rubble piled higher than their heads. The reporters walk across the debris filling the Arras Cathedral.

By a shabby building, the reporters are gathered by a window. The officer gestures. An elderly woman puts a small fluffy dog on the window sill. As the woman chats with the officer, a reporter holds his hand out to the dog and shakes its paw. The woman lifts a cat in her other hand. The reporters move away from ruined buildings that surrounded by piles of rubble.

Text card: Vimy Ridge.

Lounging in long grass, reporters and soldiers eat and drink. Gazing at the camera, a reporter smokes a pipe. Near battered buildings a motorbike and sidecar passes the convoy of reporters' cars. A soldier runs up the street behind them.

A tall stone doorway frames damaged buildings. Reporters and soldiers walk up stairs and through the doorway. Some reporters lean on walking sticks

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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