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Coatee worn at Waterloo by Brigade-Major Thomas Noel Harris, 1815
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Waterloo coatee’s provenance confirmed

In 2015, the National Army Museum was presented with a rare coatee worn by Major Thomas Harris at the Battle of Waterloo. A combination of historical evidence and modern forensic analysis was used to confirm its authenticity.

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Sergeant Herbert Chambers with fellow Special Boat Service soldiers in Athens, 1944

Origins of the Special Forces

During the Second World War, Britain created a range of special units who undertook a variety of daring operations against the Axis Powers. The bravery and commitment of these forces has become the stuff of legend.

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Bagnold sun compass used by the LRDG, c1942

Desert innovator: Bagnold’s sun-compass

The Long Range Desert Group were masters of navigation. They owed much of their success to the scientific talents of Major Ralph Bagnold, whose sun-compass invention revolutionised desert travel.

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Propaganda poster depicting a commando raid on a German-held port in Norway, 1940

The Commandos

In 1940, the British established a new raiding and reconnaissance force. Well-trained and highly mobile, they were to carry on the war against the Axis after the evacuation from Dunkirk.

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Lieutenant-General Sir Archibald Wavell, 1938

Archibald Wavell: Britain’s first wartime victor

Field Marshal Sir Archibald Wavell led an imaginative and flexible campaign against the Italians in North Africa. His triumph over their vastly superior forces was Britain’s first success of the war and paved the way for later victories.

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An unidentified officer of Fencible Cavalry, c1800

Paintings in little

Recent research on the museum's collection of portrait miniatures has revealed new information about artists and untold stories about some of the subjects they portrayed.

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Field Marshal Viscount Garnet Wolseley, 1910

Garnet Wolseley: The modern major-general

Field Marshal Garnet Wolseley won important victories in several colonial campaigns. Because of his reforming zeal and attention to detail the phrase ‘All Sir Garnet’ came to mean everything’s in order.

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General Sir Douglas Haig, 1916

Douglas Haig: The chief

Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig commanded the British Army when it achieved arguably its greatest victories, those over the Germans on the Western Front. But for many his leadership was marked by unacceptable losses.

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Model of a London and North Eastern Railway engine, c1943

A prisoner’s model masterpiece

A British prisoner of war’s model train, painstakingly made from scraps of rubbish, sheds light on the experiences of soldiers incarcerated in Germany during the Second World War.

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Queen’s Colour of 6th Battalion The King’s African Rifles, c1958

The regimental system

The regiment or corps is the key administrative component of the British Army. Each has its own long history, traditions and insignia. To its soldiers, the regiment is a military family that provides comradeship and a unique identity.

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Christmas greetings from the front line

Christmas greetings from the front line

Here we look at some of the Christmas cards sent by soldiers during the First World War, and how they helped ease the pressures of life on the front line.

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Brass bilge-pump valve salvaged from the wreck of HMT 'Birkenhead', 1852

Women and children first

Several objects from our collection reveal a remarkable tale of self-sacrifice and steadfast military discipline during one of the 19th century’s most infamous maritime disasters.

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Captain John Grant Malcolmson VC, 3rd Bombay Light Cavalry, c1860

Malcolmson VC: Hero of the Persian War

A remarkable collection of objects, including a rare Victoria Cross, tells the heroic story of Lieutenant John Grant Malcolmson who served during the Persian War (1856-57).

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