History GCSE: Voices of Indian soldiers in WW1

**David Olusoga explores the story of Mall Singh, one of thousands of Indian soldiers who fought for the Allies in World War One.

Singh was captured by Germany, who then made audio recordings of Indian soldiers as part of their study into ethnic differences between people.

While this recording was made for sinister purposes, it has become an invaluable piece of historical evidence as we make sense of the contribution of the colonies to the First World War.

Teacher Notes

This clip could be used to illustrate the differences between source purpose and source utility: why the Germans recorded the voices, contrasted with its usefulness to historians beyond the intended purpose.

Students could be encouraged to discuss why the experiences of empire soldiers are so seldom recorded in text, and suggest other alternatives to researching these perspectives.

Curriculum Notes

These films are suitable for teaching History at GCSE in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and at National 5 in Scotland.

The Belgian priest and the colonial troops in WW1
video
The Chinese Labour Corps in WW1
video
How the colonies made WW1 a global war
video
La Force Noire - West African troops in the French army
video
The African American war hero who had to fight for France
video
Overcoming racial stereotypes in France in WW1
video
Indian soldiers and friendship in WW1
video
British Indian soldiers who deserted to get home
video
video