Learning Sequences

For History teachers and students

Developed by HTAA (The History Teachers' Association of Australia)

Unit 1 - World War I - Enlistment and Fighting on the Western Front

Part 1: Enlistment, 1915


In the following activities, you will be required to comprehend and interpret a variety of historical sources relating to the enlistment of Private Edward Edwards from Victoria. Your aim in these activities is to explain why Private Edwards enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in 1915.

Refer to Enlistment Sources (SR 2) and answer the following questions.

1. Closely examine Source A and then answer the following questions:

  1. When was this letter written?
  2. Who was the letter written by?
  3. Who was this letter written to?
  4. List all of the reasons Edwards provides for wanting to join the army in 1915.
  5. Write down 1 – 2 questions you have about this letter.

2. Closely examine Source B and then answer the following questions:

  1. In what month and year did the AIF receive the highest number of enlistments?
  2. About how many men enlisted in that month?
  3. Look back at the letter written by Edward Edwards (Source A). In what month and year was this written?
  4. Which parts of Source A does Source B help clarify?

3. Closely examine Source C and answer the following questions:

  1. When was this newspaper article published?
  2. List all of the information that we learn about Private Charles Powley from this source.
  3. Which parts of Source A does Source B help clarify?

4. Closely examine Source D. How useful is this source for your understanding of why Edward Edwards’ enlisted in 1915?

Writing Task

Select ONE of the following questions and write a 400 – 500 word response. In your response, you must refer to Source A and any two of the other Sources for Enlistment (SR 2).

  1. Explain why Edward Edwards joined the AIF in 1915.
  2. Assess the importance of public pressure in explaining Edward Edwards’ enlistment in 1915.
  3. To what extent does the case of Edward Edwards support the ideas put forward by Professor Peter Stanley in the video you watched in the previous activities?