An Awfully Big Adventure
To die will be an awfully big adventure - Peter Pan
10:45am Monday 9 November to Friday 27 November 2015
An Awfully Big Adventure: New Zealand World War One veterans tell their stories is a chronological oral history of WW1 selected and edited by Jane Tolerton from interviews with New Zealand veterans in their 80s. These were recorded by Jane Tolerton and Nicholas Boyack in 1987.
For this RNZ version, Jane has edited her published collection to 15 parts and introduced each episode. Because the archived voices needed to be heard without making changes and because some of this content was not always easy to follow, a mix of archived audio from the original recordings plus the voices of actors and RNZ staff reading edited transcripts have been used.
Not all audio is available due to copyright restrictions.
The Outbreak of War. WW1 began on 4th August 1914. Thousands of men enlisted immediately to fight for the British Empire.
The Gallipoli Campaign. Having landed in Egypt in December 1914, the New Zealander Expeditionary Force spent the first three months training on the desert sands.
The Gallipoli Campaign. On 24th May, almost a month after the Anzacs had landed, a one-day armistice was held to bury the massive number of dead.
Chunuk Bair. After three months on the Gallipoli peninsula, New Zealander troops set off to capture the heights of Chunuk Bair.
To the Western Front. The Gallipoli survivors left the peninsula in December 1915 and returned to Egypt where new reinforcements arrived from New Zealand. In April 1916 the NZ Division was formed and sailed for France and combat on the Western Front.
The Battle of the Somme. In September 1916 New Zealanders on the Western Front joined the long-running Battle of the Somme.
The Western Front. By late 1916 the New Zealanders had settled into life in the trenches on the Western Front.
The Sinai-Palestine Campaign. While most New Zealanders were on the Western Front, the men of the Mounted Rifles and thier horses were engaged in a campaign to push the Turks up through Egypt into Palestine.
Messines. From late 1916 New Zealand was conscripting men to go to the war. On June 7th 1917, the NZ Division took part in the Battle of Messines.
Passchendaele. On October 1917, the New Zealand division fought the two battles we call Passchendaele. The first, on October 4th, was a minor victory. The second, on 12th October, would be the worst day in NZ military history.
After Passchendaele. 845 New Zealand soldiers died at Passchendaele and alsmot 3000 more were wounded.
Back to the Somme. In March 1918 the Germans staged a 'Spring Offensive', breaking through on the Somme and heading for Amiens. The New Zealanders and Australians were thrown in to stop them.
The Sinai-Palestine Campaign and the Battle of Gaza, March 1917. While most New Zealanders were on the Western Front, the men of the Mounted Rifles and their horses were engaged in the Sinai-Palestine Campaign.
The Armistice and Afterwards. New Zealand soldiers on the Western Front gradually heard that the Armistice had been signed.