Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource created by East Riding MuseumsHeritage Learning and Normanby Hall Country Park.

This resource uses archival documents and photographs to explore some of the issues involved in training the many men who signed up to join the armed forces at the beginning of the war, or who were conscripted.


Curriculum Links

  • KS3 & 4 History: World War One

Learning Objectives

  • Knowledge of the different types of training soldiers were involved in
  • Understanding that there were many different roles for soldiers in the First World War
  • Skills in analysing and understanding historical evidence

Discussion Ideas

  • Use the photographs and records here to discuss what life might have been like for new recruits joining the army. What would have been the main differences from civilian life? Would they have felt truly prepared for warfare?
  • Look at the photo of the page from the Soldier’s Small Book.
    Why do you think there is an entry about preventing sore feet?
    Why was it important for a soldier to clean his rifle daily, and after firing?
    Read the instructions for sentries. How easy do you think it would be to carry these out in practice?

Activity Ideas

  • Imagine you are responsible for organising training for a newly recruited battalion (a full battalion consisted of 1,007 men including 30 officers). What do you need to do to make this happen? Think about:
    - Where the soldiers will stay
    - What spaces you will need for them to live and work in
    - How you will buy and cook food for them
    - Who will provide the training
    - How you will ensure all the men are trained to the right standard.