Forces

In 1914, the British Empire ruled over territory on all seven continents and around a quarter of the world’s population. During the First World War, Britain mobilised the people of the empire to serve and fight for Britain’s cause. Some did so in their own distinct forces with their own units and commands within the British Army, while others served directly within the British Armed Forces.

© IWM (Q 53923) - THE AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL FORCE IN BRITAIN, 1914-1918

Australia

Australia was still a young nation when Britain declared war on Germany in  1914. Despite a population of fewer than five million, more than 330,000 Australians would volunteer and serve overseas. 

Canada and Newfoundland

Canada and Newfoundland

When Great Britain entered the war in August 1914, Canada and Newfoundland were automatically drawn into the conflict. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians and Newfoundlanders served.

Indian Army

India

India made a vital contribution to Allied success in the First World War. The Indian Army grew from some 150,000 in 1914 to nearly 1.4 million by 1918. More than one million served overseas.

South African Army

South Africa

South Africans served on land, at sea and in the air, in many roles. Many took part in nursing and medical services, as engineers, in railway and signal companies and in service and labour corps. 

New Zealand Army

New Zealand

When Great Britain declared war on Germany in 1914, New Zealand was brought into the conflict. Despite its geographic isolation and small population, it immediately pledged support for the British cause.