• 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London
  • 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London

Soldier

Visitors in the Soldier gallery
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Soldier gallery

This gallery reveals what it's really like to serve as a soldier. From joining up as a new recruit to coming home, it examines a wide range of soldiers' experiences through their own words and often surprisingly personal possessions.

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Detail from 'Destruction of the Floating Batteries, Gibraltar, 14 September 1782'

Destruction of the Floating Batteries, Gibraltar, 14 September 1782

This painting by George Carter captures a pivotal moment in the Siege of Gibraltar, a contest for control of this strategic Mediterranean base during the American War of Independence.

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Detail from 'Home Again, 1858'

Home Again, 1858

This painting by Henry Nelson O'Neil captures the moment soldiers and their families are reunited after a long spell of separation. Here, we take a closer look at the artwork to gain a 19th-century insight into this often neglected aspect of military life.

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Detail from 'The King’s Shilling, c1770'

The King’s Shilling, c1770

This painting depicts an army recruiting party going about its business at an English country fair. Here, we take a closer look at the artwork to learn more about 18th-century recruitment and its impact on volunteers and their loved ones.

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A soldier relating his exploits in a tavern, 1821

A soldier relating his exploits in a tavern, 1821

This painting depicts a Waterloo veteran regaling his fellow tavern-goers with tales of past glory. Here, we take a closer look to discover what the artwork tells us about soldiers and society in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars.

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Royal Army Temperance Association medal for 20 years' abstinence awarded to Private J H Smith, The Royal Munster Fusiliers, 1915 

‘Watch and Be Sober’: The story of Army temperance

This collection of Army temperance medals demonstrates the efforts made by officers and soldiers in the 19th and early 20th centuries to resist the temptation, and avoid the perils, of the demon drink.

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Lieutenant-General John Manners, Marquess of Granby, c1763

Marquess of Granby: The benevolent soldier

Lieutenant-General John Manners, Marquess of Granby, acquired his reputation for courage and leadership during the Seven Years War. His popularity was also founded upon his well-known generosity and concern for the welfare of his men.

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Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps personnel with bread for the troops, 1918

An army marches on its stomach

To be effective, an army relies on good and plentiful food, especially on campaign. British Army food has evolved through the ages, ranging from bully beef and biscuits to veggie curries.

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Signboard from Hellfire Corner, c1918

Hellfire Corner: A sign of the times

One of our most iconic First World War objects is the signboard used to mark the infamous ‘Hellfire Corner’, a busy and dangerous junction near Ypres.

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Pole-vaulting at the 14th Punjab Regiment's Sports Day, 1937

Sport and morale in the British Army

Sport has always been important for morale. It reinforces group identity and makes soldiers ready to serve a shared cause, even in the most difficult circumstances.

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Rugby match featuring members of the 3rd County of London Yeomanry, 1942

Sport and British Army recruitment

Although factors like patriotism, financial security and the chance to travel have persuaded men and women to enlist, sport has also played a major role in British Army recruitment.

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A soldier from 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment fights a boxer from Oxford University, 2009

Sport and preparing troops for war

The Army has long believed that sport prepares men and women for combat by increasing fitness, channelling aggression and instilling discipline.

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Officers of 1st Battalion The Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire), representing the range of sports played, 1936

The Army’s impact on sport

The British Army has established many of the sports we know and love today and helped to spread them throughout the world.

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