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Private Laura Docherty, Royal Army Medical Corps, on patrol with the Royal Irish Regiment in Helmand, 2010
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Fit to fight: Women in the army today

Women were finally allowed to undertake combat roles in 2016. But even before that, many female soldiers had been serving in war zones around the world.

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Tunic worn by Lieutenant Campbell Clark, 2nd Bengal European Fusiliers, 1857

A lucky escape

A rare tunic from the Indian Mutiny holds a death-defying tale of gruesome gunshots, troublesome timepieces and a remarkable recovery.

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Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, c1653

The war on Christmas

In 1647 Christmas was almost cancelled as the Long Parliament and its army tried to banish all festivities that smacked against the sober Puritan values of the period.

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Allied soldiers on the roof of a captured A7V tank, 1918

1918: Year of victory

The German Spring Offensive saw mobile warfare return to the Western Front. Despite early gains, the Germans exhausted themselves, setting the stage for a successful Allied counter-offensive.

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'An East View of the Great Cataract of Niagara', 1762

The earliest European view of Niagara

Thomas Davies' watercolour, ‘An East View of the Great Cataract of Niagara’ (1762), documents the struggle for control of North America and illuminates the history of British exploration and science.

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Field Marshal Lord Allenby of Megiddo and Felixstowe, c1925

Edmund Allenby: The bull

General Sir Edmund Allenby led the British Empire to victory in the Middle East in 1918. He successfully pioneered the combined use of infantry, cavalry and aeroplanes at the Battle of Megiddo.

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10th (Prince of Wales's Own) Royal Hussars, 1812

Cavalry roles

Soldiers who fought on horseback were known as cavalry. Often dominating the battlefield, they performed a variety of roles, from smashing enemy formations to scouting and reconnoitring.

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Field Marshal Viscount Slim, 1967

William Slim: The soldiers’ soldier

Field Marshal William Slim led 14th Army in Burma during the Second World War. Despite inheriting a disastrous situation, he restored his men's morale and led them to victory against the Japanese.

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Dropping parachutists and supplies, Arnhem, September 1944

Operation Market Garden

In September 1944 the Allies launched a daring airborne operation to cross the Rhine and advance into northern Germany. Although it ultimately failed, Market Garden remains one of the Second World War’s most famous battles.

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General Sir John Moore, c1805

John Moore: Alone with his glory

An army reformer and pioneer of light infantry units, Sir John Moore's inspired leadership at Corunna in 1809 saved an army from destruction, but led to his death in action.

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Major-General Robert Clive, c1764

Robert Clive: The heaven-born general

A courageous and resourceful military commander, Robert Clive helped secure India for Britain. But he was also seen as a greedy speculator who used his political and military influence to amass a fortune.

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3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment searching for snipers in Gaynaeim village, 1951

Suez Canal Zone

Between 1945 and 1956 British soldiers garrisoned bases on the Suez Canal in Egypt. A harsh climate, disease and attacks by local nationalists made Suez one of the most unpopular army postings.

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Major-General James Wolfe, 1759

James Wolfe: The heroic martyr

James Wolfe was one of Britain’s most celebrated military heroes. But his death at the moment of his greatest victory at Quebec in 1759 earned him a reputation as a patriotic martyr.

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