When World War 1 broke out in 1914, Britain and Germany were not just at war with each other but with each other’s empires.

Over three million men and women from Commonwealth countries fought for the “mother country.” They were soldiers, labourers and nurses.

Some fought on the Western Front; others in campaigns such as Mesopotamia or East Africa which are generally less well remembered. Tens of thousands of men from Germany’s empire fought against them.

A similar number of troops from the British Empire joined the Allies in World War 2.

The British Empire & Commonwealth Collections contain many rare photographs of the part Commonwealth volunteers played in twentieth century conflicts.

As Britain marks 100 years since the end of World War 1, here are some selected examples.

Picture credit: Bristol Archives 9314/7