ATS personnel manning anti-aircraft defences, 1942

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Britain alone, 1940

Following France's defeat and the army's expulsion from Western Europe, the British found themselves without allies and threatened with invasion. The nation was placed on alert and prepared to face the might of Nazi Germany alone.

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Lieutenant Jimmy Sale, 1941

The Sale Collection: Origins and early years

In the first instalment of this series, we learn about the origins of the 3rd County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters), its pre-war service and the outbreak of fighting in 1939.

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Beret badge, The South Lancashire Regiment, c1950

The South Lancashire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's Volunteers)

This infantry regiment was formed during the 1881 Army reforms. It continued in service until 1958, when it was merged into the Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Volunteers).

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SAS troops storming the Iranian Embassy, 1980

Iranian Embassy siege

One of the most famous counter-terrorism operations in history took place in 1980. Gunmen overran the Iranian Embassy in London and took hostages, but the crisis was resolved when the building was stormed by the SAS.

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The Queen's Gurkha Regiment assist with the construction of NHS Nightingale, 2020

In case of emergency

As soldiers are mobilised to help public services deal with the coronavirus pandemic, we explore how Britain has often had to rely upon the Army at times of emergency.

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Cavalry of the New Model Army, c1645

British Civil Wars

Fought between 1642 and 1651, these wars were primarily disputes between Crown and Parliament about how the British Isles should be governed. But they also had religious and social dimensions, and witnessed the creation of the first national standing army.

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Abram Games poster, 'Your Britain. Fight for It Now', 1942

Abram Games, ABCA and the fight for post-war change

During the Second World War, Abram Games produced a series of posters for the Army Bureau of Current Affairs. These aimed to remind soldiers what they were fighting for, while also offering a glimpse of the post-war society they could aspire to.

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The Norfolk Volunteers at Gunton Park, 1864

Civilian soldiers

Throughout its long history the British Army has relied on part-time soldiers to support its operations, guard British shores and maintain law and order.

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Coastal defence, 1940

Britain alone

France's defeat in the summer of 1940 left Britain threatened with invasion. Find out how the Home Front was mobilised to resist enemy attack.

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Edward Walker: Eyewitness to civil war

Edward Walker: Eyewitness to civil war

We explore the papers of Sir Edward Walker, Secretary of War to King Charles I, who was at the heart of the Royalist effort during the British Civil Wars.

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English pot helmet, 1640s

Battle of Naseby

Sir Thomas Fairfax led his troops to victory over King Charles I at the Battle of Naseby on 14 June 1645. His triumph won the First English Civil War (1642-46) for Parliament and ensured that monarchs would never again be supreme in British politics.

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