First World War stories from the Wakefield District

Teachers' notes

This resource explores the stories of five local men who fought in World War One. Working alongside KS3 teachers we have created a history resource to look at local memories of conflict. By encouraging students to compare and contrast the lives of different soldiers we hope young people will gain insights into the impact of 'total war' on their local community. 

  • What can you learn about Stanley Sadler of Wakefield who died in France just four weeks before the ceasefire?
  • What kind of war did Joshua Empson of Castleford have serving in Salonica, Egypt, Palestine and France?
  • Read about ordinary families like Mrs England who received a telegram telling her that her son Richard was seriously injured.  

These unique stories were collected from local people and family historians by Wakefield Libraries as part of the ‘We Will Remember Them’ project which was funded by the Big Lottery via the MLA’s ‘Their Past Our Future’ (TPYF2) programme.


The stories and worksheets can be used both in group work and whole class teaching, while the accompanying Resource Guide lists sources available in Wakefield Libraries (see Downloads links below).


Curriculum Links:

KS3 History - WW1

KS3 History - Unit 18 ‘Hot War’: ‘Cold War’

Section 5 What do local people remember about the main conflicts

KS3 Local Studies

How this resource could be used:

'This could be used as a backdrop to pupils conducting their own research on individual soldiers. If no family members are known, then a popular method is to research names from local war memorials. 

'This resource could also be used in conjunction with an Oral History Project where pupils interview elderly members of their community. We have done this at KS4 (re. evacuation, life during WW2 etc). Obviously as time passes there are fewer people to remember the war, but it could be used for other key events. Studying individuals helps pupils to empathise and looking at these men’s lives could help pupils come up with questions they would like to ask,'  Helen Saker-Parsons, Supply Teacher. 

Learning Objectives:

Knowledge of the experiences of soldiers and families at war. 

Understanding of what it meant for local people to live through ’total war’ and the service of soldiers.

Skills of gathering and interpreting historical evidence from primary and secondary sources.

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