National Army Museum Remembers Three Million British Empire & Commonwealth Soldiers

National Army Museum remembers three million British Empire & Commonwealth soldiers throughout November on for Armistice day.

  • Three million people from 60 countries across the world served in the British Commonwealth forces during the First World War – and 1 in 10 never made it home
  • The National Army Museum sparks debate with a collection of videos investigating views on the British Empire, Commonwealth and the troops that served
  • Sonali Shah, DJ Nihal, Mile Jedinak, and members of the public, speak about their attachment to the Commonwealth

As part of the National Army Museum’s Remembrance activity the Museum has produced a collection of videos investigating public opinion about the British Empire and Commonwealth and the troops that served alongside the British Army during the First World War, who are so often forgotten.

The videos show the public, as well as a few famous faces, being asked questions such as:

  • What does ‘British Empire’ mean to you?
  • What does ‘Commonwealth’ mean to you?
  • Why do you think those troops a hundred years ago volunteered to fight alongside the British Army in WWI?
  • Would you, like them, feel compelled to fight for this country today?

BBC presenter Sonali Shah, DJ Nihal Arthanayake and Crystal Palace/Australia Midfielder Mile Jedinak, who all have Commonwealth heritage share their thoughts and feelings about their ancestral relationship with the British Empire and Commonwealth in this thought-provoking video aimed to spark debate around the subject.

Three million soldiers from across 60 countries fought alongside the British Army and without them Britain would have lost the war. Serving a world away from home, on every front, these soldiers faced difficult, unfamiliar and sometimes fatal conditions to fight for Britain.

As a part of the National Army Museum’s Empire and Commonwealth focus the Museum has taken an interactive pop-up and photographic exhibition on the road to a range of venues and festivals around the country. It was at these events that the videos were produced.

The collection of videos can all be seen on the National Army Museum’s WW1 in Focus Empire & Commonwealth portal, alongside pictures and stories or the soldiers who fought, informative videos, a timeline and an interactive global map, which geotags all the major events of the war.    

First World War in Focus is part of the National Army Museum’s Building for the Future project, which is supported by an £11.5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Support from the Heritage Lottery Fund has also enabled the Museum to go on the road during its closure period, with a series of nationwide events around the country to commemorate the First World War and the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo in June 2015.