History KS2: S is for Shrapnel

Newsreel and commentary describe the effects of shrapnel during World War One.

Shrapnel shells caused more injuries than any other weapon of the war years.

A dramatic monologue introduces field surgeon Elsie Inglis, a pioneering Scot who worked in field hospitals in Serbia.

She tells us how women are helping to deal with a range of threats such as shrapnel injuries and infections such as typhus and dysentery.

Elsie looks forward to a world after the war, where women enjoy equality with men - and the right to vote.

This clip is from the series WW1 A to Z.

Teacher Notes

Pupils could find out more about the life of Elsie Inglis, using books and websites to help them.

The children could also research the suffragette movement before the war. In her onscreen monologue, Elsie expresses the hope that women will gain the right to vote when the war ends.

Do pupils think Elsie’s own example help to advance the cause of equality? Did the war change the perception of women in Britain’s national life?

Curriculum Notes

This short film might be useful for teaching history at Key Stage 2 / Second Level or above.

More from World War One A to Z

R is for Remembrance
T is for Trenches
U is for Unsung Heroes