Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource created by: M&S Company Archive

This resource explains the importance of the idea of the 'home' during the First World War and how it was expressed in propaganda and souvenirs.

Curriculum Links

  • KS2-3 English - Creative writing
  • KS2-3 History – WW1
  • KS2-3 Music – Popular Music – Song Writing

Learning Objectives

  • Knowledge of the concept of the Home Front and recruitment propaganda used in WW1
  • Understanding of the emotional pressure on soldiers in WWI and devices used in propaganda and cultural artefacts
  • Skills to analyse WW1 cultural artefacts and images to detect bias and intention

Discussion Ideas

  • Why do you think ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’ was such a hit with soldiers in WW1?
  • What aspects of the song do you think soldiers particularly identified with?
  • How does the song makes you feel?
  • Why do you think government propaganda and wartime souvenirs used images of women?
  • Why do you think the handkerchief was made?
  • Why were people buying luxury souvenirs like the handkerchief at a time when there were shortages and (from 1917) rationing?
  • Do you think all soldiers wanted to go to war? If not, why not?
  • How might the war have been perceived differently in Britain and Ireland?

Activity Ideas

  • KS2-3 History - Analyse original artefacts/evidence:
    Use the image gallery within this resource. Compare the imagery used in the propaganda poster ‘Women of Britain Say “Go!”’ with that of the handkerchiefs.

    - What sort of similarities are there between the imagery used within the handkerchiefs and poster?
    - How do the posters differ – mood, imagery, colour, wording
    - What do you think the creators wanted each of the items to make people feel or think about?
    - Are the artefacts biased towards a particular opinion or intention at all?
    - In what ways do you think they are effective?
    - How would you change them to make them more effective?
  • KS2-3 English/History - Creative Writing:  
    Read through the lyrics to ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’ on the downloadable lyric sheet (or listen to the song using the link at the bottom of the page) and check out more WW1 songs in another resource

    Have a go at writing your own wartime song, either for WW1 or a modern conflict. Think about:
    - Does your song tell a story?
    - Is there a narrator or main character?
    - What does your song say about war?
  • KS2-4 History/KS3 Music – Song Writing
    Make a modern ‘wartime hit’:
    Using the downloadable lyric sheet, think about the language and themes in ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’. Then, think of a modern pop song that you could imagine being popular with soldiers at war today.

    Look up the lyrics online and print them out, then use examples from the lyrics to answer the following questions:

    - What themes within the song would make it relevant to people in wartime?
    - How does the language express the sort of feelings or thoughts people might have when going to war or missing family members?
    - Finally, have a go at writing your own WWI or modern ‘wartime song’. Think about the themes within the songs you have looked at and research more popular Edwardian songs for inspiration.