Formation gallery will be closed for a private event on Saturday, 29 June 2024.

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  • CLOSED
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London

Britain

ATS personnel manning anti-aircraft defences, 1942
Featured

Britain alone, 1940

Following France's defeat and the army's expulsion from Western Europe, the British found themselves without allies and threatened with invasion. The nation was placed on alert and prepared to face the might of Nazi Germany alone.

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Explore Britain stories

Detail from 'A Grand Review of the Army at Hounslow Heath, 1687'

A Grand Review of the Army at Hounslow Heath, 1687

This detailed drawing by Willem van de Velde the Elder portrays one of the earliest formal musterings of the Army. Here, we take a closer look at this grand spectacle that allowed King James II to flex his political and military muscle.

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German aerial incendiary bomb, c1917

Bombs over Britain

This aerial bomb's banged-up condition reveals something of the impact it must have made when dropped from a German airship during the First World War. Today, it forms part of an impressive display of weaponry in our Conflict in Europe gallery.

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The coffin of the Unknown Warrior borne in a wagon with a guard of Allied soldiers, 10 November 1920

The Unknown Warrior: A mystery solved

The grave of the Unknown Warrior contains the remains of an unidentified British serviceman, interred in 1920 to honour the fallen of the First World War. The selection was a secretive event and remains shrouded in mystery.

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‘The 1st Cruiser’, 3rd County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters), Surrey, November, 1940

The Sale Collection: Preparing for action

In the second instalment, we explore the wartime exploits of the 3rd County of London Yeomanry in 1940-41. During this time, the unit prepared for overseas deployment, training hard and getting to grips with a variety of armoured vehicles.

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Lieutenant Jimmy Sale, 1941

The Sale Collection: Origins and early years

In the first instalment of this series, we learn about the origins of the 3rd County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters), its pre-war service and the outbreak of fighting in 1939.

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Beret badge, The South Lancashire Regiment, c1950

The South Lancashire Regiment (The Prince of Wales’s Volunteers)

This infantry regiment was formed in 1881. It continued in British Army service until 1958, when it was merged into The Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Volunteers).

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SAS troops storming the Iranian Embassy, 1980

Iranian Embassy siege

One of the most famous counter-terrorism operations in history took place in 1980. Gunmen overran the Iranian Embassy in London and took hostages, but the crisis was resolved when the building was stormed by the SAS.

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The Queen's Gurkha Regiment assist with the construction of NHS Nightingale, 2020

In case of emergency

As soldiers are mobilised to help public services deal with the coronavirus pandemic, we explore how Britain has often had to rely upon the Army at times of emergency.

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Cavalry of the New Model Army, c1645

British Civil Wars

Fought between 1642 and 1651, these wars were primarily disputes between Crown and Parliament about how the British Isles should be governed. But they also had religious and social dimensions, and witnessed the creation of the first national standing army.

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Abram Games poster, 'Your Britain. Fight for It Now', 1942

Abram Games, ABCA and the fight for post-war change

During the Second World War, Abram Games produced a series of posters for the Army Bureau of Current Affairs. These aimed to remind soldiers what they were fighting for, while also offering a glimpse of the post-war society to which they could aspire.

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The Norfolk Volunteers at Gunton Park, 1864

Civilian soldiers

Throughout its long history, the British Army has relied on part-time soldiers to support its operations, guard British shores and maintain law and order.

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Coastal defence, 1940

Home Front

Following the fall of France in the summer of 1940, Britain was faced with the threat of invasion. Soldiers played a vital role in defending the shores and skies.

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Explore Britain events

Storyteller Lauren Greirson with a tank
Tour At Museum

13 - 16 August 2024

FREE

Blitz Storytelling Trail

Join us on an immersive storytelling tour as we help a time-travelling member of the ATS get back home.

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Explore Britain learning resources

The Blitz: Gallery Trail
Trail

KS2 (Ages 7 to 11)

The Blitz: Gallery Trail

Follow this gallery trail, accompanied by ATS servicewoman Shirley Hamilton, to find out more about the Blitz.

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Auxiliary Territorial Service personnel operating anti-aircraft defences, c1940
Quiz

KS2 (Ages 7 to 11)

Britain and the Blitz in the Second World War: Quiz

Put your knowledge of the Blitz to the test in this interactive quiz.

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