• 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London
National Army Museum
  • 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London

Global Role

Exploring the age of empire in Global Role gallery

Exploring the age of empire in Global Role gallery

Global Role gallery

Over the centuries, Britain’s soldiers have deployed to territories on almost every continent. Explore their global role from the age of empire to the international crises of the modern day.

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Explore Global Role stories

Detail from painting of the Battle of Isandlwana

The Battle of Isandlwana, 22 January 1879

One of the most popular paintings on display at the National Army Museum is a depiction of the Battle of Isandlwana by Charles Fripp. Here, we take a closer look at the artwork to discover more about this infamous British defeat.

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Officers and non-commissioned officers of the 2nd Devonshire Regiment, Wuutho, Burma, 1891

Third Burma War

Following a series of fractious disputes, the British invaded Upper Burma in late 1885 and overthrew its king. While the country was quickly annexed to British India, a guerrilla war ensued that rumbled on for the best part of a decade.

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The 18th and 80th Regiments storming the Shwedagon Pagoda, Rangoon, 1852

Second Burma War

This brief conflict in 1852-53 was largely provoked by the East India Company, which was hungry for new territory and Burmese resources like teak and rubber. It ended in a British victory and saw Lower Burma become a province of British India.

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The British landing at Rangoon, 11 May 1824

First Burma War

Frontier clashes between British India and the Burmese Empire escalated into a full-blown war that lasted from 1824 to 1826. This conflict resulted in parts of Burma coming under the control of the East India Company.

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British troops in the Transvaal, 1881

Transvaal War

In 1880-81, the British fought a brief war against the Transvaal Boers in South Africa. The Boers had rebelled against British control and went on to inflict several stinging defeats during their successful fight for independence.

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Jacket worn by Captain John Malcolmson VC, c1860

Wool, wax and whalebone: Preparing a uniform for display

Our conservation team describes some of the essential work required to get one of the highlights of the Global Role gallery ready for display.

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16th Regiment of Bengal Lancers at the Temple of Heaven, Beijing, 1900

The Boxer Rebellion

In 1900, British and Indian troops joined an international expedition sent to relieve the diplomatic quarter of Beijing, which was under siege by the 'Boxers' and their Imperial Chinese allies.

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Bengal Army Troops, 1785

Armies of the East India Company

Originally formed to trade in Asia, the East India Company came to rule large areas of the Indian subcontinent, exercising military power through its formidable armed forces.

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The 3rd Light Dragoons at Ferozeshah, 21 December 1845

First Sikh War

In 1845-46, the British fought a war against the Sikh Empire in the Punjab. After several bitterly fought battles, the conflict ended with the British taking partial control of the Sikh territories.

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The Battle of Chillianwala, 13 January 1849

Second Sikh War

In 1848-49, British-Indian forces were once again at war with the Sikh Empire. The campaign that raged across the Punjab eventually led to the region's full annexation by the British and the removal of one of the last Indian powers able to challenge British control of the subcontinent.

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Operation Barras, September 2000

Operation Barras

In September 2000, British troops undertook a daring hostage rescue operation in the war-torn West African country of Sierra Leone. They successfully freed five British soldiers who had recently been captured and around 20 civilian prisoners.

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Japanese flag captured by 6th Battalion, 5th Mahratta Light Infantry, 1945

Japanese good luck flags

A collection of flags captured during the Second World War sheds light on the tough close-quarter combat of the Burma campaign and provides some rare insights about soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army.

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Explore Global Role events

British Korean Veterans, Church of All Saints, Aldershot, 1996
Discussion At Museum

5 July 2023, 6.30pm


Veterans of the Korean War

Hear what it was like to serve in Korea from veterans of the conflict as they gather to mark the 70th anniversary of the signing of the armistice.

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Troops on the march, Korea, c1950
Talk At Museum / Online

28 July 2023, 12.00pm


The Korean War: 70 Years On

Dr Grace Huxford reflects on the events and legacy of the Korean War 70 years since the conflict ended.

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Detail from 'The Spioenkop Campaign' book cover
Talk At Museum / Online

18 August 2023, 12.00pm


The Spioenkop Campaign

Dr Robert Davidson discusses this often-overlooked campaign to relieve the besieged town of Ladysmith during the early stages of the Boer War.

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'Warriors in Scarlet' book cover
Book Launch At Museum

24 August 2023, 6.30pm


Warriors in Scarlet

Acclaimed military historian Ian Knight launches his latest book, charting the history of the Victorian army between 1837 and 1860.

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