Whose Remembrance? Highlighting the involvement of the peoples of the former British Empire in the two world wars

In 2012 IWM led Whose Remembrance? – an AHRC-funded investigation of the state of research into the contribution made by colonial troops in the two world wars, and the understanding and availability of this research to communities today. The project was carried out in consultation with an advisory group of academics and specialists. A specially commissioned film was created to showcase the study’s findings and act as a catalyst for future research into this theme.

The Whose Remembrance? film has been screened at venues including the Houses of Parliament, King’s College London, and the University of Bedfordshire. The film has also been screened internationally at events led by the Alliance Française de Dhaka and the United Service Institution of India.

Following enquiries from community groups in response to the project, we have created Researching the British Empire in the First World War, a free online resource guide to help those wishing to conduct their own research in this area. The scope of the guide has been limited to the First World War, in view of the large amount of public attention on the centenary of the conflict.

We have also established ‘The British Empire’ at war forum – an online discussion group on the Centenary Partnership website, focusing on stories from across the British Empire during the First World War. Here community groups can share their research and highlight forthcoming events.The story of the experiences of the peoples of the British Empire during the two world wars provides rich territory and deserves to be more assiduously pursued and permanently included in mainstream narratives. We were overwhelmed by the response to Whose Remembrance? particularly from community organisations, and it exhibited the need for further research in this previously neglected area of history.