Street scenes in El Mejdel after the capture of Jaffa on 16 November 1917, by the Wellington Mounted Rifle Regiment, New Zealand Mounted Rifle Brigade and ANZAC Mounted Division.
A shot of the town hall clock shows that filming had occurred within half an hour of the town’s capture. Members of a New Zealand troop, with their tethered horses, relax on the outskirts of the town. They are cleaning up, smoking and enjoying a drink in the shade after a week of hard riding and heavy fighting.
Australian Light Horse in the Middle East
The Australian Light Horse Regiments are almost legendary, although accounts of their actions may be more myth than fact. This film shows some of the 6,1000 horses embarking from an AIF transport ship, along with troops. The footage also shows the Imperial Camel Corps, established in January 1916 and made up of British, Australian and NZ battalions, entering the town of Beersheba, with General Edmund Allenby who headed the British Empire’s Egyptian Expeditionary Force. He is seen here after Jerusalem’s fall into Allied hands on 9 December 1917, reading his proclamation of martial law in the nine languages of the city.
Māori and Pacific Islanders march to war
On Saturday 5 February 1916, the 3rd Māori Contingent of Reinforcements and others made their way from Parliament along Lambton Quay to their departure point at Wellington’s waterfront. Members of the Māori Contingent are easily identified by their uniform of pith helmet, shorts, putties (a long strip of cloth around the lower leg) and lack of ammunition pouches, which distinguished them from the ‘lemon squeezer’ hat and full uniform of the other troops. The idea of engaging in a battle in foreign lands so far from home must have raised excitement as well as doubt as the Māori Contingent headed for the challenge and conflict of World War One.
Troops from several South Pacific countries formed part of the 3rd Maori Contingent. Among them was Sergeant-Major Uea of Lalofetau, Niue. He had helped to encourage support for the war effort and was the oldest of the Niuean volunteers who sailed that day.