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Year 6 - World War ll: 1939-1945: soldiers of the British Empire

British Empire Soldiers

During WW2, the British Empire and Dominions raised 8,586,000 men for military service including 2.5 million Asian soldiers who fought against facism. The Indian Army won many awards, including 31 Victoria Crosses.

5 million came from the British Isles        1.5 million from India  629,000 from Canada                   413,000 from Australia 

136,000 from South Africa                             128,500 from New Zealand            plus more than 134,000 from other colonies.

The Empire fell into two distinct parts. There were the self-governing 'white' Dominions - Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. And there were those regions that were wholly or partly governed from London, including India, which had its own viceroy, as well as the West Indies and British colonies in Africa and the Far East. At the outbreak of war in 1939, India and the other colonial parts of the Empire had no choice and automatically joined in the war on the side of Britain. The Dominions made their own decision to enter the war on the British side. The Irish Free State opted for neutrality.

Abstract retrieved on 12/01/2022 from


Australian Soldiers

Recruitment poster for soldiers of British Empire

Image retrieved on 12/01/2022 from (Imperial War Museum, London)

Dame Vera Lynn's charity Forgotten Allies

IWM: Indian Soldiers' Experiences

Kohima: Britain's forgotten Battle that changed WW2

Kachin Independence Army Myanmar


Forgotten soldiers: Myanmar soldiers

Image retrieved on 12/01/2022 from (Imperial War Museum, London)