As time goes by remarkably there has been resurgence in interest in World War 1, especially amongst school children researching those who enlisted and who often lied about their age. Hence, many were only a few years older than the students. The statistics were horrifying with 61,000 killed from Australia and a much larger number wounded, adding up to a staggering 61 % of all enlistments. Australia's population then was only 4.9 million and the burden in pension payable to incapacitated service men after the war amounted to over 2 billion dollars a year in todays' terms. Fortunately my maternal grandfather survived, serving in the legendary Light Horse and went on to live a fairly normal life. But he was one of the lucky ones.
Film maker Peter Jackson has used technological magic to bring a history of World War 1 to us on the big screen in a way that can hardly be believed. For the first time ever we see the entire documentary made up of actual restored war footage. The old war footage is slowed down to normality, coloured and voices painstakingly matching by research and lip readers from the 600 hours of recording archives to the solders portrayed. You can study the men properly, listen to their banter and even occasional laughter.
There was commentary from the archives by surviving veterans.
My wife and I noticed their terrible teeth.
The abbreviated commentary is never intrusive as the footage and solders voices and their actions tell the story. But in the end you begin to feel for the solders personally. They were of course just young men caught up in the bloodiest and brutal confrontations imaginable. One can appreciate the terrible conditions and explosions around them with thousands dead in the space of a few minutes.
It's just on 100 years since hostilities ceased and if you are able to see this documentary you will see history as it has never been portrayed before. Less we forget.