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.

explore this story
Victoria Crosss

The Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross is one of the highest awards a British soldier can receive. It requires an act of extreme bravery in the presence of the enemy, and has achieved almost mythical status, with each award accompanied by an inspiring tale of gallantry and daring.

explore this story
The Battle of Busaco, 27 September 1810

Peninsular War

From 1808 to 1814, the British Army, aided by its Spanish and Portuguese allies, held off superior numbers of French troops before driving them out of Iberia. They then carried the war into France, playing an important part in Napoleon's first overthrow.

explore this story
Lieutenant-Colonel Randolph Egerton, The King's Troop of Horse Guards, c1672

The Restoration and the birth of the British Army

In 1660, the monarchy was restored when Parliament invited King Charles II to take the throne. Although the military played a crucial role in his return, the King soon established a new force - the British Army.

explore this story
The Battle of the Boyne, 1690

Nine Years War

Between 1689 and 1697, British soldiers joined a European alliance against French expansionism. At the same time, extensive fighting took place in Scotland and Ireland between the supporters of King William III and the deposed James II.

explore this story
King James II, c1685

The Glorious Revolution

The Army played an important role in the downfall of King James II and his replacement by William of Orange in 1688. This ‘Glorious Revolution’ restricted royal power and had a profound impact on the long-term future of the British Army.

explore this story
Saving the guns at Colenso, 15 December 1899

Boer War

Between 1899 and 1902, the British Army fought a bitter colonial war against the Boers in South Africa. After initial setbacks and a long period of guerrilla warfare, the British eventually prevailed, but not without adopting controversial tactics.

explore this story
A Conqueror tank of 5th Royal Tank Regiment in Germany, c1960

Nato and the British Army

Nato has been the cornerstone of British defence planning for 70 years. Originally formed in the 1940s as a bulwark against communism, more recently it has been involved in peacekeeping roles and the ‘war on terror’.

explore this story
Soldiers with a refugee Kosovo Albanian family, 1999


In 1999, British soldiers deployed to Kosovo as a peacekeeping force. Today, troops still serve in the disputed country as part of a multi-national force helping to ensure security and stability.

explore this story
British UNPROFOR troops outside a destroyed mosque near Vitez, Bosnia, 1994


British soldiers first deployed to Bosnia in 1992 during the country's vicious civil war. Initially tasked with protecting aid convoys, they have remained there on peacekeeping duties ever since.

explore this story
Saving the guns at Maiwand, 1880

Second Afghan War

In 1878-80, British-Indian forces fought a war to ensure that Afghanistan remained free from Russian interference. Although eventually successful, the British suffered several setbacks in their struggle to control the volatile country.

explore this story
Tribesmen from Kohistan, a region north-east of Kabul, c1842

First Afghan War

Between 1839 and 1842, British imperial forces fought a bitter war in Afghanistan. Initially successful, the British eventually withdrew having suffered one of the worst military disasters of the 19th century.

explore this story
Soldiers huddle under helicopter

Iraq War: The counter-insurgency

Between 2003 and 2009, British troops in Iraq were engaged in a counter-insurgency war. They also helped train local security units, assisted with reconstruction and provided humanitarian aid.

explore this story

Join the conversation

"First time @NAM_London today. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thought the presentation & interpretation made the subject accessible..."