Map briefing for Sikh recruits, 1947
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Independence and Partition, 1947

The birth of India and Pakistan as independent states in 1947 was a key moment in the history of Britain’s Empire and its army.

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East African soldiers with a captured Japanese flag, 1944 

Far East campaign

Between December 1941 and August 1945, British Commonwealth troops and their allies fought a bitter war across the vast expanses of Asia and the Pacific Ocean against a tenacious and often brutal enemy.

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A British officer with the Armenians, Baku, August 1918

Dunsterforce in the Caucasus

In 1918, the British assembled a handpicked unit to carry out a daring secret mission to the Caucasus. Their aim was to unify into an effective force the various anti-Bolshevik and anti-Turkish groups fighting there.

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Landing troops from transports at Lao Shan Bay, September 1914

Siege of Tsingtao

In the autumn of 1914, British soldiers fought alongside the Japanese in China. Their goal was the German naval base at Tsingtao, which finally fell in November after a two-month siege.

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Gun disguised as a pen for use by SOE agents, 1945

Special Operations Executive

Formed in 1940, SOE was an underground army that waged a secret war in enemy-occupied Europe and Asia. Its agents demonstrated incredible courage and resourcefulness in their guerrilla war.

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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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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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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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On patrol in the jungles of North Borneo, c1964

Indonesian Confrontation

Between 1963 and 1966, British Commonwealth forces fought against Indonesia in a conflict that focused on the future of Brunei and North Borneo.

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Gurkhas open fire during an attack near Palel, April 1944

Battles of Imphal and Kohima

These were the turning points of one of the most gruelling campaigns of the Second World War. The decisive Japanese defeat in north-east India in 1944 became the springboard for the subsequent re-conquest of Burma.

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A 25-pounder of 45 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, fires at enemy positions on the Imjin, 1951

Battle of the Imjin River

Fought in April 1951 in Korea, this was the bloodiest engagement endured by the British Army since the Second World War. For three days the 29th British Independent Infantry Brigade Group thwarted massed Chinese attacks.

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Rebel sepoys, 1857

Why did the Indian Mutiny happen?

In 1857, Indian soldiers rose up against their British commanders. The reasons behind the rebellion stretch back to the origins of British involvement in Indian affairs.

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Hudson's Horse at Rhotuck, 1857

Decisive events of the Indian Mutiny

The 1857 rising was the biggest threat to Britain's colonial power during its rule of the Indian subcontinent.

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Explore Asia events

British perspectives on the Korean War and its aftermath
Talk

27 July 2018, 11.30am

FREE

British perspectives on the Korean War and its aftermath

Dr Grace Huxford discusses the end of the Korean War on its 65th anniversary.

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Lost Warriors: Seagrim and Pagani of Burma
Talk

7 September 2018, 11.30am

FREE

Lost Warriors: Seagrim and Pagani of Burma

Philip Davies tells the story of Major Hugh Seagrim, the ‘TE Lawrence of Burma’.

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Book launch: Vietnam, An Epic Tragedy, 1945-75
Talk

26 September 2018, 6.30pm

£15.00

Book launch: Vietnam, An Epic Tragedy, 1945-75

Best-selling author Sir Max Hastings discusses his new book on Vietnam.

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Explore Asia learning resources

Commonwealth soldiers in Palestine
Video

KS3 (Age 11 to 14)

Commonwealth soldiers in Palestine

Discover the diverse range of soldiers who contributed to the British First World War effort in Palestine.

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Commonwealth soldiers at Gallipoli
Video

KS3 (Age 11 to 14)

Commonwealth soldiers at Gallipoli

Discover the diverse range of soldiers who contributed to the British First World War effort at Gallipoli.

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