The Malcolm Doolin Memorial Award for Local History Research 2023-2024

  • An annual year long project – starts 1 September 2023, closes 15 June 2024
  • Open to primary and secondary schools (including special schools)
  • 2 x £500 awards (one for 5-11 year olds, one for 11-16 year olds) plus runner up awards 
  • Publication and publicity through the Western Front Association’s magazine, website and social media 
  • Commemorative certificates awarded to all participating schools

Your research can be into anything that is local to your group and relates to the period of the First World War - 1914-1918/9. War memorials or Commonwealth War Graves Commission graves in local cemeteries are an obvious choice but it could be about life on the Homefront: schools, industry and war work, entertainment, who lived in my house etc. 

We are looking for:

  • Originality: something that extends knowledge 
  • An outcome – a publication, display or performance
  • Where possible, partnership working – schools working together or with local museums, churches, local history societies, The Western Front Association etc

Support from the Western Front Association:

  • Participants are welcome to discuss their plans with the Education Trustee at any stage
  • On request we will match you with a Western Front Association member who can offer research advice/mentorship to teachers – where possible this would be a member from the school’s local branch but it may be an experienced researcher from elsewhere in the country. They may help you find useful resources for your research (including giving you access to special Western Front Association resources). They may even be able to suggest a topic for your research – for example, they may know about barracks or a factory or in your area that did war work, or there may be an event like an air raid that happened in your town. N.B. This support will be online or by telephone. We are unable to offer on-site support in schools.
  • Schools may be invited to do a presentation to their local WFA branch giving them the invaluable experience of speaking to an external audience.

Other Resources:

You may find the Teachers’ Research Guide, developed by our friends at Centenary Battlefield Tours, a useful place to start. 

WW1 Research Guide 

Secondary School colleagues may wish to work through the full scheme of work of which this is a part.

Scheme of Work for WW1 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is currently developing its resources for local history research. For example, you can search for casualties by their home street:

CWGC Who Lived on Your Street 

You can also arrange for them to support your work through their education programme:

Getting Started - Registration:

Download and complete the registration form the clickable link in the top left hand corner of this page. 

You should register your interest in participating in this project as soon as you have decided to take part. That way we can keep you updated as additional resources or opportunities that become available. Remember you can request that you are partnered with a Western Front Association researcher if you wish. 

Please send it to: 

Submitting Your Entry at the End of the Project

1) Title of your Project and Method

  • Names and ages of young people involved
  • Name(s) and contact details of teacher/group leader
  • Name of School/Schools/Youth Group

2) Basic Information Required

  • What did you want to find out?
  • What resources did you use – online, museums, visits?
  • Other people you involved

3) The Project Outcome Itself – one (or a combination) of:

  • A booklet (10,000 words maximum)
  • A PowerPoint (or other presentation or series of displays)
  • A video
  • A script
  • Or something similar e.g. photos of a classroom museum

N.B. It is important that this showcases the work done by the young people themselves.

4) How You Have Shared This Work (Inside and/or Outside Your School/Organisation)

About Us:

The Western Front Association

The Western Front Association (The WFA) was formed with the purpose of furthering interest in the First World War of 1914-1918. We also aim to perpetuate the memory, courage and comradeship of all those who served their countries on all sides, across all theatres and fronts, on land, at sea and in the air and at home during the Great War.

Malcolm Doolin 16.2.1950-18.3.2018

Malcolm Doolin grew up in Dover, Kent and lived and worked in East London. He was an educator, historian and author whose passionate interest in World War One stemmed from the stories his grandmother told him about her little brother, Ernest Sharp, who was killed, “blown to bits” on 22 April 1918 and who is commemorated at Dud Corner Cemetery, Loos.

Malcolm believed in the power of people working together and created successful teams in both his professional and personal life. As an education consultant, he encouraged schools to work together and, within his work with The Western Front Association, he drew together local history and genealogy groups, schools, churches, the local museum and the council in research and commemoration of the First World War and its impact on the local area. 

At the end of every event he spoke at, he expressed the hope that people would continue to remember the war, particularly after the centenary commemorations were over. He would have wholeheartedly welcomed this award. 

Registration for the Malcolm Doolin Local History Award 2023-2024

Please submit this form as soon as you decide to participate in this project so that we can keep you up to date with news and resources. You may not know all the details of your project at this stage – that is fine. You can update as you go along. If you later change your mind and decide it is not for you or decide to defer until later, please let us know.

Name and address of School:

Are you a primary or secondary school?

Headteacher’s name:

Name of adult leading the project and their role in your organisation:

Email address of adult leading the project:

Proposed age group of young people participating in the project:

Would you like us to partner you with a Western Front Association member who may be able to advise you on research or historical background or arrange for you to showcase your work? 


Do you hope to involve anyone else in your research (e.g. other schools, colleges or universities, local museum, church or religious organisation, local council, parents)?

Where did you hear about this project?

We would also be interested in the following information if you already know it at this stage:

Focus of your research:

Possible outcomes (eg booklet, display of written and art work, drama or musical presentation, for school, other schools, parents, local branch of Western Front Association, website etc):

Help or resources you may need:



Please send this form to: