world war 1, 1914-18
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Use this page
to help you research
the period of the
First World War



Coloured still from the 1916 "Battle of the Somme" Movie. These soldiers were not actors but were filmed shortly before going into batle. 

Click for a short history of the Remembrance Poppy
Click for a short history of the Remembrance Poppy

  I'm useful but a little more difficult!!  
Means a more detailed but also more difficult site to use.




1. General World War 1 Sites

I'm useful but a little more difficult!!  World War 1 BBC site. Very good and the most detailed of the general sites (although you might find some parts difficult). Includes details of the main battles, maps, personal accounts, articles, simulations and pieces on the origins and consequences of the war.
I'm useful but a little more difficult!! This is a well presented site. Very thorough and looks at the war as if it was an internet history textbook with clear multimedia content. Good individual articles. Its size and language can make it difficult to use.
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2. Trench Life & Battle Conditions

I'm useful but a little more difficult!!  The Western Front: Lions Led by Donkeys? The scale of human devastation during World War One has often been blamed on incompetent leadership. Dr Gary Sheffield gives a different view. BBC article.

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3. Personal Accounts

  • A British tank in 1918 during the final offensive.Read and listen to stories of the War from the people who lived it. Explore diaries, letters, scrapbooks, newspaper cuttings, photos and keepsakes.
    • The Observer A mystery woman's journal charts the events that led to war and 'August madness'.
    • The Soldier Letters from a heroic doctor tell of the horrors of the Western Front.
    • The Sister Letters to America from a devoted sister describe life on the Home Front.
    • The Survivor An ex-prisoner of war writes about the ups and downs of coming home to Britain.
  • Animation of contemporary photographs, dramatised diary readings and interviews with veterans exploring key themes of World War One.
  • Henry John PatchA Photo essay of the last surviving British Tommy who died in 2009. Includes an image of his 2004 meeting in Ypres with Charles Kuentz, the last remaining German soldier from the first world war and a powerful portrait by Don McCullin, to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the Great War Armistice, on 11 November 2008.
  • WW1: Experiences of an English Soldier This blog is made up of transcripts of Harry Lamin's letters from the first World War. The letters are posted exactly 90 years after they were written. To find out Harry's fate, follow the blog!
  • Voices of the Armistice UK National Archive series of podcasts launched to mark the 90th anniversary of the Armistice. The podcasts bring alive the individual experiences of those who served in the First World War. They highlight some of the unusual and interesting stories that can be found in military records at The National Archives. Well worth listening to. This link takes you to the content page.





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4. War poets

  • Wilfred Owen. Click to be taken to the Owen Multimedia Digital ArchiveWilfred Owen (1893 - 1918) Poets wrote about the conditions. Click on this name to read the poems of one of the most famous. 
  • Poets of the Great War is a collection of the best known poets with a brief description of their lives and links to their poems.
  • Prose & Poetry Very Comprehensive listing of poets and extracts from books (prose) written by those in the war.
  • In Flanders Fields John McCrae's famous poem is brought to life in this animation. You will need Flash 4 to view this.

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5. Images, posters and maps

  • Vintage WW1 Photographs Use the box on the right of the page to choose a category.
  • The Battle of the Somme. YouTube excerpts of the epic 80 minute film made at the time of the 1916 Battle of the Somme.  Some parts including going over the top were specially staged for the camera for home consumption. However most of the film is "real" and was not staged.
  • Propaganda Posters Again use the sidebar on the right to choose a country and look at their war posters.
  • Battlefield Maps This website reproduces large-scale maps covering the key battles and offensives on all fronts of the war from 1914-18. Each map was originally produced by the Department of Art and Military Engineering at the U.S. Military Academy - i.e. West Point - in 1950.  This collection was published as A Short Military History of World War I - Atlas and edited by T. Dodson Stamps and Vincent J. Esposito.
  • The Somme Colour map of the battlefield showing the closeness of each side to one another
  • Click on a title or photo from the excellent and variedPhotos of the Great Warsite for many other war images:

War Albums






Death & Destruction

Heads of State

Animals at War




Weapons & Equipment



War at Sea



Transportation, Supply and Communications 


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 Women in World War 1 : go to the casahistoria site for more detailed information


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7. After the War




I'm useful but a little more difficult!!  Versailles and Peacemaking. Should the Treaty of Versailles punish or rebuild Germany?' Dr Ruth Henig examines the question that divided the Allies at the end of World War One. Difficult article that looks at how far the Treaties led to World War 2



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8. Further information

  • Want to know more? These will link you to moreSpartacussites about World War 1:
Outbreak of War

Allied Armed Forces
Central Powers

Political Leaders
Military Leaders 

Inventors and the War

Horses & Mules
Theatres of War
War at Sea
& War in the Air

The Soldiers

War Artists

War Heroes

War Literature

War Statistics

If you are looking for ancestors who served in the First World War for British or Commonwealth/Imperial armies:
  • Sources for First World War army ancestry Podcast (also available as iTunes download) about the prime sources at The National Archives for documenting First World War army service, covering both the officers and other ranks of the British Army.
  • "Debt of Honour Register" is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database listing the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars and the 23,000 cemeteries, memorials and other locations worldwide where they are commemorated. The register can also be searched for details of the 67,000 Commonwealth civilians who died as a result of enemy action in the Second World War.



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 v10.11    Last updated on 26-Apr-2015            LFE