Writing the war: Percival Langford

  • Date recorded: 30 Jun 2014

  • Duration: 03:43

'The flash of the guns followed by the heavy boom gave out the impressions of a continuous thunderstorm...'

- Percival Langford

About this video

Watch our series of short films accompanying our Writing the war: personal stories from WWI exhibition, highlighting the individual experiences of Australians who participated in the war. The films also feature in our permanent exhibition, The changing face of Victoria, as part of the State Library's World War I centenary commemoration. The Writing the war touring exhibition will travel to Victorian public libraries from August 2015 to June 2017.

This film is based on correspondence written by Victorian teacher Percival Langford, who was on the staff at University High School in Melbourne when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in August 1914, at the age of 30.

A lance corporal, he served in the 4th Light Horse Regiment in Egypt and Gallipoli. On 24 May 1915, Langford witnessed the brief armistice that took place between the Australian and Turkish forces on the Gallipoli Peninsula, in order to bury their dead.

After serving at Gallipoli, Percival was discharged as medically unfit in September 1916. For the remainder of the war, he was based at the Melbourne Recruiting Centre with the rank of Lieutenant.

The film features extracts taken from a letter Percival Langford wrote to his students at University High School, describing conditions in the trenches and the 24 May armistice.

Watch the other videos in this series