Photographic history found

00:07, Aug 21 2010
Historical glass plate negatives
The Canterbury Contingent's mounted troops depart Lyttelton on Wednesday September 23, 1914.
Historical glass plate negatives
Infantry going aboard the troop transport ships at Lyttelton.
Historical glass plate negatives
Infantry and mounted regiment troops waiting to go aboard the troop transport ships at Lyttelton.
Historical glass plate negatives
Embarkation of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force from Wellington Harbour on October 14, 1914.
Historical glass plate negatives
Crowds at the barrier while men were embarking at Lyttelton.
Historical glass plate negatives
Troops entrain for Lyttelton at Sockburn Station.
Historical glass plate negatives
The Wellington Contingent at Awapuni Racecourse, Palmerston North.
Historical glass plate negatives
The A Squadron, Canterbury Mounted Regiment arriving in Lyttelton from Evans Pass.
Historical glass plate negatives
The Canterbury Mounted Regiment on its march to the troop ships.
Historical glass plate negatives
The Canterbury Mounted Regiment approach the Heathcote bridge.
Historical glass plate negatives
The Great Public Demonstration in aid of the Patriotic Fund in Christchurch on Monday August 24, 1914.
Historical glass plate negatives
Inspection of the Canterbury Contingent of New Zealand Expeditionary Force by Hon. James Allen, Minister of Defence at Sockburn Camp.
Historical glass plate negatives
A portion of the Mounted Regiment's baggage ready to be put on board the baggage trains.
Historical glass plate negatives
Stacks of oats to feed the horses of the Expeditionary Force.
Historical glass plate negatives
Packing clothes for the distressed people of Belgium and Great Britain at the Montreal St store, Messrs Pyne and Co.
Historical glass plate negatives
The infantry going aboard the troop transport ship in Lyttelton.
Historical glass plate negatives
The Canterbury Contingent waits to board the troop ship.

History is fragile – when it is stored on glass. The glass-plate negative of this picture of Canterbury soldiers boarding the troop ship Athenic at Lyttelton on September 23, 1914, is broken in the top left-hand corner.

It was one of 63 glass-plate negatives found by chance at The Press by illustrations staff member Jude Tewnion while sorting photographs in a storeroom. The images offer a window on a poignant moment in history.

Some plates were broken but, when printed, all revealed sharp images of South Island soldiers preparing and leaving for World War I in 1914.

This week, The Press took the 96-year-old plates to the National Army Museum at Waiouru, where they will be archived and preserved.

Museum archivist Dolores Ho was amazed at the clarity and detail in the negatives, all of which have now been digitised by The Press.

Are your ancestors or relatives here? Do you recognise anyone in this photograph, or those in our Mainlander section and online gallery at press.co.nz? Email reporters@press.co.nz

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