Researching the British Empire in the First World War


Resource authors: Imperial War Museum
Project: Whose Remembrance? A scoping study of the available research on ex-colonial communities and the experience of two world wars

In 2012 IWM (Imperial War Museums) led the project Whose Remembrance?, an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)-funded investigation into the state of research on the contribution made by colonial troops and others recruited in the two world wars, and the understanding and availability of this research to audiences and communities today. A specially commissioned film was created to showcase the study’s findings, which has since been shown at public dissemination events across the United Kingdom and internationally.

Following many enquiries from community groups in response to the publication of Whose Remembrance? and the subsequent film, we have created this guide to help those wishing to conduct their own research in this area. The scope of the guide has been limited to the First World War, in view of the large amount of public attention on the centenary of the conflict. Additionally, the Heritage Lottery Fund have launched grants to help groups, communities and organisations mark the centenary by exploring, conserving and sharing the heritage of the First World War, from memorials, buildings and sites, to photographs, letters and literature, ranging from £3,000 to over £100,000.

Alongside this guide we have also established ‘The British Empire at War’ forum – an online discussion group on the First World War Centenary Partnership website, focusing on stories from across the British Empire during the First World War. Here community groups can share their research and highlight any forthcoming events or new discoveries. Organisations can sign up as a member of the Centenary Partnership for free, by visiting:


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