World War I saw a huge shift in the way war was fought because of new deadly weapons. Artillery, like those encased by these shells, was used frequently by soldiers in trenches. Highly explosive shells were necessary to break into the enemy’s territory. Because of the development of artillery, machine guns, gas, tanks, airplanes, and other explosives, 18 million people were killed during World War I, with 23 million wounded. This was the largest recorded death toll in history and earned the conflict the name "The Great War."
These shell fragments were recovered by Ezra Curry, who served with the Norton-Harjes Volunteer Motor Ambulance Corps.