WWI

Lord of the Wings: See Lord Of The Rings director’s amazing WW1 plane collection

Watch our exclusive film of LOTR Peter Jackson’s astonishing collection of First World War aircraft and artefacts.

We have taken an exclusive look at Oscar-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson's secret passion – an astonishing collection of First World War memorabilia, including warplanes built from original blueprints.

The Lord of the Rings director shows us around his warehouse of artefacts in Wellington, New Zealand, where he works with his team to restore and create his beloved aircraft.

We have also been given a special look at Peter's first-ever movie he shot as a child using a Super 8 camera.

The director's interest in World War One and historical aircraft began when he was young.

"I grew up surrounded by veterans of two world wars," Peter told us.

"The things that I was exposed to, and listened to and the conversations that happened in our house... was all geared towards the war, really."

Peter's parents moved to New Zealand from the UK just after the Second World War.

His father, William Arthur Jackson, was in the British Army and saw service during the conflict in Malta and in Italy, while Peter's mother, Joan, worked in the De Havilland aircraft factory in Hatfield, Hertfordshire.

Peter was born in New Zealand in 1961, and rather than telling his son about his own war experiences, William Arthur preferred to speak about his own father and Peter's grandfather's memories of World War One.

William John Jackson had joined the Army in 1910, enlisting with the South Wales Borderers – now part of The Royal Welsh.

He was serving in China when war broke out in 1914 and went on to fight in Gallipoli in Turkey, in one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War.

It was here that the 23-year-old led his soldiers to capture a Turkish outpost, earning him the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Peter never met his grandfather, who died in 1940, but his experiences fighting alongside New Zealanders at Gallipoli influenced the decision to emigrate to New Zealand.

The young Peter Jackson enjoyed making model planes - these became the focus of his very first foray into film.

"My parents got a Super 8 movie camera to make home movies with," Peter recalled.

"I would have been about eight years old when it arrived in the house. I liked the idea of making sort of little fictional films."

Peter enjoyed recreating mid-air dog-fights – and his famous attention to detail meant setting some of his precious model planes on fire.

This passion was cemented when he got the chance to see full-sized planes on a family holiday.

He said: "When I was 12 my parents took me to the UK on a sort of family trip to meet all the cousins, aunties and uncles and things, so we went to Hendon RAF museum and that was the first time I saw real First World War planes in the flesh, and I was pretty obsessed by that stage."

Watch: Peter Jackson's World War One aircraft take to the skies.

Peter Jackson's collection of aircraft, uniforms, weapons and other memorabilia is the biggest of its kind in the world.

Some of his planes cannot be found anywhere else.

When talking about his collection Peter Jackson said: "Because of my day job making films, I ended up with the resources of being able to do this.

"I don’t know how big it is. I keep my eye out, and if there’s something interesting, I try to buy it.

"Some people might say it’s got out of control, I’d say it’s evolved."

He has also re-created others from scratch using 100-year-old engineering techniques to rebuild them piece-by-piece using the original plans. 

"You strap yourself into one of these planes and take off, at that point, nothing else in the world really matters. It’s like the world becomes a very simple thing," Peter said.

Watch the full documentary, 'Peter Jackson's Military Treasures', from Monday 8 November.