Free First World War Teacher Resources

Teach war themes using evidence based historical enquiry and real Life Stories

Use evidence like official records and images to discover the stories behind the themes.

Choose a theme

Introduce the project to your class

Use our PowerPoint or show our 3 minute video to introduce Lives of the First World War to your class.

Choose a theme to explore

For each theme, IWM historians have selected real Life Stories with connected historical documents. Choose a theme and explore the resources.

Ideas and answers to common questions

Find answers to questions you might have, and see how other schools have been using Lives of the First World War.

We believe that every person involved in WW1 deserves to be remembered. Find out more about the project.

Take the Tour

First World War Themes

red cross.jpg Injuries, treatment and the trenches

Discover the Life Stories of:

thiepval2.jpg The Battle of the Somme

Discover the Life Stories of:

small-theme-image_remembran.png Remembrance

Discover the Life Stories of:

  • Edith Cavell, a nurse who was executed in Belgium

  • Charlotte Meade, who died from munitions poisoning

  • Alexina Dussault, whose hospital ship was torpedoed
Robert Adeney, who died when his aircraft crashed
gallipoli.jpg Beyond the Western Front

Discover the Life Stories of:

  • Flora Sandes-Yudenitch, who served as a soldier in Serbia

  • John Travers 'Jack' Cornwell, who took part in a naval battle aged 16

  • Ralph Garland Hockaday, who served in Mesopotamia (Iraq)

  • Florence Farmborough, who served as a nurse in Russia
  • John Simpson Kirkpatrick, an Australian medic in Gallipoli

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DSCF6851.JPG Trench Warfare

Discover the Life Stories of:

Recruitment-theme-page.png Recruitment and conscription

Discover the Life Stories of:

  • Thomas Witts, who volunteered underage at 16 years old

Answers to Common Questions

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  • Our free resources are tailored to help teach the Secondary History Curriculum
  • Your students will engage with real Life Stories of ordinary people living through extraordinary times
  • You can develop your students’ skills through evidence-based historical enquiry
  • Your school will take part in a unique global project with Imperial War Museum

 

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  • Lives of the First World War is free to browse, free to join and free to add to Life Stories – and always will be. You don’t need to register to browse and view Life Stories.

  • If you register, you can add information to Life Stories for free. We only charge for access to premium genealogy records that are always behind paywalls on the net and for access to special features (including creating your own Communities).

  • Any records we add which are currently free online elsewhere will also be free on Lives of the First World War.

  • View a list of our current Free and Premium record sets

 

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  • Use our ready-made PowerPoint to introduce the project
  • Explore the historical themes above
  • Use the Life Stories on each theme page to explore in class
  • Follow the suggested activities for using Life Stories on the theme pages

 

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  • 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.
  • Encourage creative responses inspired by a Life Story, such as poetry, letters, art, drama, music, or dance. Students of Hinchley Wood School, for example, created powerful original artwork to reflect the themes that they found in the stories. This piece was created by Freya Portway.

 

 


 

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  • Use our ready-made PowerPoint to introduce the project
  • 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.
  • Host a 'Bring an object' community event, for people to bring any items they have from the First World War. Scan or photograph documents and objects, and upload images onto the associated person’s Life Story page. Use the Life Stories, records and history topics as a resource to find more evidence about the person or object.
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  • Use our ready-made PowerPoint to introduce the project
  • Use Lives of the First World War to research your local war memorial - this could be a school memorial to former pupils, or a town or community monument.
  • Host a ‘Bring an Object’ community event asking people to bring any objects or artefacts they have from the First World War. Scan or photograph documents and objects and upload images onto the associated person’s Life Story page. Use the Life Stories, records and history topics as a resource to find more evidence about the person or object
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  • Before you travel, you can research records, upload images, and share stories and facts on individual Life Story pages – read our Guide to Adding to a Life Story. There are also free teaching resources available for use with your students in the classroom and on the battlefield sites.

 

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Visit IWM’s dedicated First World War Centenary website. Join our Partnership to access free resources.

Visit IWM’s dedicated First World War Centenary website. Join our Partnership to access free resources.

Supported by

The Charles Skey Charitable Trust

School Community Spotlight

First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours Programme

First World War Centenary Battlefield Tours Programme

Students

This Community records one story submitted by each school taking part in the UK government's national education programme for the FWW Centenary 2014-2019

View their Community

Testimonials

Very impressive, well organised and and very searchable

We really enjoyed using Lives of the First World War ... the student feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

It is a really engaging way to teach historical interpretation. A fantastic resource!

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