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Injuries, treatment and the trenches

What challenges did medics face on the Western Front?

The range of weapons used meant there was a variety of ways men could be wounded. New techniques were developed to help treat injuries. 

Presentation + Life Stories + Activity = Your Lesson!

Introductory Presentation

Use this ready-made PowerPoint to introduce Lives of the First World War to your class.

Download (14MB)
Choose your Life Stories

Pick Life Stories to investigate and download the Powerpoint containing primary sources relating to that person.

Life Stories
Follow the Activity

Take a look at our suggested activities to try with your class, as well as other IWM resources that relate to the theme.

Next step

Use Lives of the First World War to research names on your local war memorial - this could be a school memorial to former pupils, or a town or community monument.

Create a Community

Recommended Life Stories

We have selected Life Stories connected to this theme. Download the pack of sources connected to the Life Story.

Photo of Charles James Frampton

Charles James Frampton

Charles suffered a shrapnel wound, which became infected

Download Pack
Photo of Beryl Butterworth Hutchinson

Beryl Butterworth Hutchinson

Beryl was a member of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry

Download Pack
Photo of Harold Delf Gillies

Harold Delf Gillies

Harold developed new techniques in plastic surgery

Download Pack
Photo of Ethel Mary Smyth

Ethel Mary Smyth

Ethel trained as a radiographer in France

Download Pack
Photo of Robert Jones

Robert Jones

Robert Jones continued the work of his uncle Hugh Owen Thomas, who invented the Thomas Splint

Download Pack
Photo of Geoffrey Langdon Keynes

Geoffrey Langdon Keynes

Geoffrey created a portable machine which stored blood for transfusions

Download Pack

Suggested Activities

1. Use the facts, images, evidence and stories on Life Story pages to compare and contrast individual experiences - think about similarities and differences between these people’s lives.

  • What was their experience of injury and treatment?
  • What are the key themes in their stories? Consider concepts such as identity, separation, friendship, love, bravery and loss.


2. Study one of the primary sources in detail. When was it written, and for what purpose? What does it tell you about the person’s Life Story? Pick out details about their age, background and family. How does this information relate to their wartime experiences?


3. Create a mini exhibition based on one person’s story. Select three sources from the person’s Life Story page, and create a title and theme for the exhibition.

4. Encourage creative responses inspired by a Life Story, such as poetry, letters, art, drama, music, or dance.

Activity Resources

Supported by

The Charles Skey Charitable Trust


We used Lives of the First World War with Year 9 students in order to help them research a soldier. This inspired them to create an original piece of artwork, which we displayed in school.

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Help IWM piece together the Life Stories of over 8 million men and women from across Britain and the Commonwealth who served in uniform and worked on the home front during the First World War.

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