Thursday 21 November 2013 by Stuart Baines. 1 comment
Education at the Memorial

At the Memorial we have many curatorial teams working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring the collection to you. One of those is our fantastic Film and Sound team. As the name suggests, their work centres around the film and sound collection. For educators, this collection can be a rich and important teaching tool. It allows us a direct window back into the past, to hear the words of those men and women who have served, who have experienced and lived through days of conflict. The power of their voice cutting through time to speak of their experiences can be invaluable for students to listen to, interpret, and see in the context of the events that the subjects themselves may not have been aware of.

You may have seen the recent blog that the Film and Sound team posted with short excerpts from this collection. We have reposted the link for you below. Take the time to listen to these voices:

Sound Collection Online: First World War Experiences

We have also put together some stimulus questions that you may find helpful in your classroom as well as a synopsis of the themes and issues covered in the recordings. You will also find links in the blog post to the full interviews.


  1. Colonel McKinlay describes how the Turks at Gallipoli seemed to have undergone similar rifle training to the Australians. Why do you think it surprised him to have something in common?
  2. What does the ‘bulls-eye game’ played with the Turkish trench-digger reveal about the soldiers’ attitudes to their situation in the trenches?
  3. Why would McKinlay believe he was “lucky” to be wounded?
  4. What do Private Angus McGillivray’s recollections tell us about the difficulties of supplying the soldiers in the trenches?
  5. Why do you think McGillivray’s battalion was never reformed after the battle at Morlancourt? What would this have meant for him personally?
  6. Thomas Brain’s reunion with his father shows how much he had physically changed while away at war. Could some of the experiences retold in these accounts change a soldier in other ways?
  7. This photograph (P03130.005) shows a household decorated to welcome home a returning veteran like Brain. What difficulties existed for soldiers returning to home life after the war?
  8. Compared to other sources for the war, what advantages are there to hearing the spoken accounts of those who were there? Could there be any disadvantages?

We are looking forward to working more with our colleagues in Film and Sound to bring our valuable collection to your classroom.


Paul Cobb

Another excellent small piece and one that shows the depth of material at the AWM for researchers. I was particularly pleased to hear Tom Brain's contribution which has been technically enhanced very well by the AWM - that ticking grandfather clock in the background was unavoidable when I interviewed him many years ago! He told some very interesting stories and the extract you have included is one that is quite different from accounts of life in the trenches - good choice.