How can we discover the world they went to and the world they left behind?

The enquiry is based on doing ‘local‘(or ’localised‘) history. The students should build knowledge and understanding of what life was like at home for the serviceman or woman before the First World War. They should also get a sense of what life was like for the person in the theatre of war in which they served. They should become more aware of opportunities and challenges when working constructively with sources to build knowledge and understanding.

Stage 1

Does anyone here know ...

Before using this enquiry with your students you will need to carry out some research into the life or lives of a name(s) on a local war memorial. The key is to try to find individuals for which there are sufficient sources to make a worthwhile enquiry.

Two Worlds - WW1 Teacher's research guide

A detailed teacher’s guide setting out how to carry out the necessary research into specific names on a local war memorial.

Stage 2

How can we find out?

Students are challenged to work as historians to compile a list of sources they may use in their research. For each one they should be ready to say what they think it might reveal, why this would help and how likely they are to find the source.

Two Worlds - WW1 Display outline

Blank worksheet for students to record an evidence-based list of sources to show 'the world he left behind' and 'the world he went to'. Students work as historians to compile the lists and are asked to speculate what they might get from each source.

UK National Inventory of War Memorials

The UK National Inventory of War Memorials tells you where to find local memorials and whether they will show a list of names. The site may soon provide lists of these names online.

The roll of honour

The Roll of honour website also has details of many (but not all) war memorials and names as well as extra information. It can be searched by county or by individual name.

Stage 3

What sort of world did he/she leave behind?

The Teacher's notes of this historical enquiry suggest some sources which could be used to help create an evidence based list. For example, online census returns for 1911 and 1901, old maps of the locality online or in printed form as well as old photographs. Challenge students to study them and consider what they reveal and how relevant they are.

Stage 4

What sort of world did he/she go to?

This section supports teachers and students with a list of online resources to discover more about “The world he/she went to”.

More Resources »