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An allied army

The British forces were not all from Britain. A British army could be made up of divisions of Indians, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, West Africans and Canadians, as well as British troops. Behind the lines were the Chinese Labour Corps, which built and repaired road and rail links to the front.

The largest forces were from France and the French colonies, such as Algeria. They carried the main burden of the war in 1914-16, while Britain desperately tried to recruit and train a large land army almost from scratch. There were also two million American troops who arrived in France in 1918 to play an important role in achieving victory.

The sources in this case study will give you a sense of the range of different people the average British soldier might have met while serving in the Great War.

You will probably find it helpful to study the Background before you start looking at the sources.
Use the Worksheet as you look through the sources. This will help you plan your research and think about how to present your findings.

French soldiers in action
Sources:
1. Service record of Wilfred Owen, 1917-18 2. Photo of Walter Tull, 1st Football Battalion 3. Photo of West Indian troops, 1916 4. Report & photos of Canadians, 1915-17
1 Service record of Wilfred Owen, 1917-18 2 Photo of Walter Tull, 1st Football Battalion 3 Photo of West Indian troops, 1916 4 Report & photos of Canadians, 1915-17
5. Newspaper report on VC winner, 1915 6. Photo of an Irish raiding party, 1916 7. Photos of Australian & NZ soldiers, 1916 8. Film of US soldiers in France, 1918
5 Newspaper report on VC winner, 1915 6 Photo of an Irish raiding party, 1916 7 Photos of Australian & NZ soldiers, 1916 8 Film of US soldiers in France, 1918
9. Letter from a British Red Cross nurse, 1915 10. 'The British Empire's Contribution', 1919    
9 Letter from a British Red Cross nurse, 1915 10 'The British Empire's Contribution', 1919    
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