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  • Chelsea, London

Europe

Units of the Dutch Prinses Irene Brigade moving up to the attack, 1944

Units of the Dutch Prinses Irene Brigade moving up to the attack, 1944
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Victory in Europe

In the aftermath of the D-Day landings and the subsequent Allied advance across France it seemed for a fleeting moment that the end of the war in Europe might be in sight. The bloody struggles of 1944-45 eventually ended in the final defeat of Nazi Germany.

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Explore Europe stories

Charge of the Light Brigade, 1854

Crimean War

The Crimean War was fought by Britain, France, Turkey and Sardinia against Russia. For the British, the campaign was symbolised by military and logistical incompetence alongside the bravery and endurance of its soldiers.

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Warrington Road in the Ypres Salient, 1917

1917: Year of stalemate

In 1917, Germany adopted a defensive strategy on the Western Front to counter the growing strength of the Allies. Despite launching several offensives, and suffering heavy casualties, the Allies achieved mixed results.

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Major Herbert 'Blondie' Hasler and a colleague paddling a canoe, c1942

Herbert 'Blondie' Hasler: A Cockleshell Hero

Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert ‘Blondie’ Hasler was an inventor, pioneering yachtsman and special forces canoeist. In December 1942, he led the daring ‘Cockleshell Heroes’ raid on Bordeaux harbour.

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Samovar taken from Napoleon’s baggage after the Battle of Waterloo, 1815

The Emperor's samovars

Two samovars that belonged to French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte shed light on his disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. They also show how practices like tea drinking spread through different cultures.

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A six-inch howitzer of 127th Siege Battery, Royal Artillery, Salonika, 1917

Salonika campaign

From 1915 to 1918, British troops were part of a multi-national Allied force fighting the Bulgarians and their allies in the Balkans. Despite harsh conditions, they eventually brought the campaign to a successful conclusion.

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A 15-inch howitzer being prepared for action on the Somme, 1 July 1916

1916: Year of attrition

1916 witnessed two of the longest and most notorious battles of the First World War. Both resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties for both the Allies and Germans on the Western Front.

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Troops in trenches at Wulverghem, 1915

1915: Early trench battles

During 1915, the British and French undertook a series of unsuccessful attacks against the Germans on the Western Front. For both sides it was a tough learning experience.

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Landrécies, 25 August 1914

1914: Mons to Christmas

In August 1914, the British Expeditionary Force was sent to France. Although small when compared with the German and French armies, it was to play a role out of all proportion to its numbers. But the cost was huge, and by December 1914 it had been almost wiped out.

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The Duke of Marlborough, 1702

The Duke of Marlborough: Corporal John

Marlborough’s long career as a soldier and statesmen spanned the reigns of five monarchs. His triumphs were not only due to his amazing military talents; they were also a result of politics and patronage.

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King George II at the Battle of Dettingen, 1743

War of the Austrian Succession

This 18th-century conflict was caused by the question of Maria Theresa’s succession to the Austrian crown. During the war, British troops proved their worth as soldiers. But the armies in which they served enjoyed mixed fortunes on the battlefield.

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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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Explore Europe learning resources

Commonwealth soldiers on the Western Front
Video

KS3 (Ages 11 to 14)

Commonwealth soldiers on the Western Front

Discover the diverse range of soldiers who contributed to the British First World War effort on the Western Front.

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Somme 1916
Video

KS3 (Ages 11 to 14)

Somme 1916

Explore the story of the Somme through objects from the National Army Museum's collections.

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