The First World War, from 1914 to 1918, happened during an age of empires. While the war started as a dispute between European nations, there were colonial ties, alliances, and trade agreements that brought countries all across the globe into the conflict. This meant that fighting did not just happen in the trenches of France and Belgium. As well as battles fought at sea and in the skies, combat took place in Eastern Europe, in the deserts of the Middle East, and in the forests of East Africa.

The Central Powers were: Austria-Hungary, Germany, the Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria and their allies.

The Allied Powers were led by: Britain, France, Russia, Belgium, Serbia and their allies.

The territories of the British Empire included colonies in the West Indies, Africa, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as India. When Britain declared war on the Central Powers on 4 August 1914, it was not long before it called on people across its empire to help in the fight for victory.

The territories ruled by the British in India were some of the largest and most important in the empire. In 1914, India included the modern nations of Burma, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Some 315 million (315,000,000) people in Undivided India were citizens of the British Empire.