• 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London
  • 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London

The British Empire and Dominions at War, 1914-19

9th Hodson's Horse march through Damascus, 2 October 1918

Learn about the contributions made by men and women from across the British Empire and Dominions during the First World War in this two-day virtual conference. 

The National Army Museum, the Western Front Association and the British Commission for Military History invite you to the next instalment of their successful collaboration: a virtual conference on the subject of the British Empire and Dominions at War, 1914-19. 
The popular memory of the First World War in Britain is dominated by imagery of the Western Front, of trenches, of mud, and of British men struggling to advance over small patches of ground. But the First World War saw the British Army engaged across the world.

More than that, it saw millions of people from across the Empire and Dominions serving in the colours of the British Army. For them, doing your bit for Britain was about more than just where you were born. 
This conference draws attention to the contributions of these men and women. Some of these stories are well known. Others, less so. Without their service and sacrifice, Britain would have lost the war. 

Join us and hear from international experts as we place this experience in the wider context of Imperial Britain’s First World War.

Logos of the British Commission for Military History and the Western Front Association

Day 1

At War Across Africa 

Saturday 12 June 2021, 10.30am

Imperial Britain’s war began and ended in Africa. Yet it is the theatre we discuss least in public discourse. Our international panel will shed new light on the campaigns in Africa – and the soldiers who fought them. 

  • Dr Anne Samson – 27+ = We All Served in East Africa, 1914-18
  • Professor Ian van der Waag – South African Soldiers and the Memory of the Great War
  • Dr Rob Johnson – The Defence of the Suez Canal

The Western Front

Saturday 12 June 2021, 2.00pm

The Western Front was the main focus of the war for Britain, and where it concentrated its greatest military might, bringing the power of the Empire to battle.

  • Dr Hanna Smyth – 35,000 Maple Seeds: Materials of Imperial Commemoration on the Western Front
  • Dr Dominiek Dendooven – India in Flanders Fields: Indian Experiences of the Western Front
  • Professor Matthais Strohn – The End of White Solidarity: German Perceptions of the Entente Colonial Troops on the Western Front

Day 2


Sunday 13 June 2021, 10.00am

Gallipoli is the campaign which is perhaps most closely associated with the Imperial experience. A tragedy of ambitious planning and poor execution, it continues to fascinate historians and the wider public.

  • Dr Chris Pugsley – Baptism of Fire: The New Zealanders on Gallipoli
  • Dr Andrea McKenzie – Canadian Nurses at Gallipoli
  • Professor Peter Stanley – 'Shall we live to return to India?': The Indian Army's Part in the Gallipoli Campaign

The panel will be chaired by Dr Jenny Macleod.

Palestine and the Middle East

Sunday 13 June 2021, 12.45pm

Palestine and the Middle East saw some of the most challenging operating environments for the Imperial British. The campaigns had heavy colonial influences, and the fighting was unlike anything in any other theatre.

  • George Morton Jack – From Basra to Mosul: The British Empire's Great War in Iraq
  • Rob Fleming – Chauvel’s Cavaliers: The Desert Mounted Corps in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign
  • David Wells – The British West Indies Regiment in the Middle East

This panel will be chaired by Dr Aimee Fox.  


Sunday 13 June 2021, 3.00pm

Professors Gary Sheffield and Catriona Pennell discuss the popular memory of the First World War and the experience of the Empire and Dominions at war. They will reflect on the centenary and recent events, and discuss how to improve public understanding of Britain’s Imperial war.

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"First time @NAM_London today. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thought the presentation & interpretation made the subject accessible..."