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

First World War

British raiding party await the word to go, 1916

British raiding party await the word to go, 1916
Featured

First World War

The First World War was the first truly global conflict. From 1914 to 1918, fighting took place across several continents, at sea and - for the first time - in the air. It cost the lives of over ten million soldiers.

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Explore First World War stories

‘Welcome to the Irish Republic, Sir!’ A British infantry patrol lost on the border with Northern Ireland, 1988

Timeline: Ireland and the British Army

The British Army has played a central role in the long history of conflict and co-operation between Britain and Ireland. Here we explore some of the key moments in this difficult but fascinating story.

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Sergeant Major James Frederick Plunkett, 2nd Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment, c1911

Lieutenant Colonel James Frederick Plunkett

James Frederick Plunkett served on the Western Front throughout the First World War. His courage, leadership and devotion to duty enabled him to rise through the ranks and become one of the most highly decorated servicemen of the war.

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‘Amar Singh - fait a Orléans’, 16 October 1914

Paul Sarrut: Interpreting the Army on the Western Front

Paul Sarrut was a French soldier who was posted to the British Army as a military liaison officer and interpreter during the First World War. Trained as an artist, Sarrut created an important visual record of the 3rd (Lahore) Division in France.

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The Royal Artillery Memorial, Hyde Park Corner, London, 1925

Honouring the fallen

After the First World War, British society had to come to terms with the loss of huge numbers of its service personnel. Across the country, people found ways to commemorate the fallen at a local and national level.

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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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Luck and superstition

Luck and superstition

Chance plays a significant part in deciding a soldier’s fate on the battlefield. Here we look at examples of close shaves and extraordinary escapes, and examine some of the superstitions soldiers draw on for comfort and protection.

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Lord Strathcona’s Horse on the march, 1918

Beauty in desolation: Munnings and the First World War

In 1918, the artist Alfred Munnings was tasked with recording the wartime contribution of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade and Forestry Corps. His paintings highlight the military role of horses, capturing their beauty in the war-affected landscapes of France.

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1st Reserve Regiment of Cavalry in training, 1914

Cavalry on the Western Front

In the First World War, the cavalry could no longer deliver the decisive charges it had performed in the past. But it continued to carry out a variety of useful roles that contributed to British success.

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Horses carrying ammunition, c1917

Horse power in the First World War

Without its hard-working horses, the Army could not have functioned during the First World War. Their contribution included carrying and pulling supplies, ammunition, artillery and even the wounded.

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Stables of The Buffs, 1914

Army horse care in the First World War

During the First World War, the Army relied on its horses to perform a wide range of jobs. The requisition, transportation and care of these animals was therefore of huge importance.

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General Jan Smuts, 1918

Jan Smuts: The warrior-statesman

Field Marshal Jan Christiaan Smuts successfully led troops against Britain in the Boer War. He later commanded the South African Defence Force fighting alongside British soldiers in several First World War campaigns.

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The Cenotaph in Whitehall, 1919

Peace and commemoration

After the Armistice in November 1918, millions of soldiers hoped they would soon go home. But demobilising so many troops was a huge task. How best to mark the Allied victory also became a subject for debate.

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Explore First World War events

Your Country Needs You! Propaganda and recruitment
Primary workshop

7 September 2020 - 20 July 2023

FREE

Your Country Needs You! Propaganda and recruitment

Explore how advertising and propaganda work, particularly focusing on recruitment campaigns of the First World War.

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Recruitment and conscription
Secondary workshop

7 September 2020 - 20 July 2023

FREE

Recruitment and conscription

Analyse recruitment posters from the Museum's collection and multimedia recreations of First World War parliamentary debates to explore the history of Army recruitment and conscription.

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Second World War propaganda poster contrasting pre- and post-war accommodation in Britain
Secondary (virtual)

1 September 2021 - 20 July 2023

FREE

Recruitment and conscription (virtual)

Analyse recruitment posters from the Museum's collection and multimedia recreations of First World War parliamentary debates to explore the history of Army recruitment and conscription.

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Part of a First World War propaganda poster showing a soldier and a munitions worker
Primary (virtual)

1 September 2021 - 20 July 2023

FREE

Your Country Needs You! Propaganda and recruitment (virtual)

Explore how advertising and propaganda work, particularly focusing on recruitment campaigns of the First World War.

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A British medical orderly treats a wounded German soldier, c1916
Secondary (virtual)

1 September 2021 - 20 July 2023

FREE

Trench medicine: Illnesses, injuries and their treatment (virtual)

Explore artefacts and sources on the causes and treatment of injuries and illnesses on the Western Front during the First World War, and assess the impact of these innovations.

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School students getting to grips with the handling collection
Secondary workshop

6 September 2021 - 20 July 2023

FREE

Trench medicine: Illnesses, injuries and their treatment

Explore artefacts and sources on the causes and treatment of injuries and illnesses on the Western Front during the First World War, and assess the impact of these innovations.

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Poppies to remember?
Primary workshop

6 September 2021 - 20 July 2023

FREE

Poppies to remember?

Discover some of the stories of Remembrance held by the Museum, the evolution of the poppy as a symbol, and how it is used today.

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Mission accomplished? Comparing First World War battles
Secondary workshop

6 September 2021 - 20 July 2023

FREE

Mission accomplished? Comparing First World War battles

Investigate four key battles through primary sources and decide whether they can be considered victories or defeats.

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Soldier in Afghan poppy field, 2009
Primary (virtual)

1 September - 15 December 2022

FREE

Poppies to remember? (virtual)

Discover some of the stories of Remembrance held by the Museum, the evolution of the poppy as a symbol, and how it is used today.

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School students getting to grips with the handling collection
Secondary workshop

6 September 2022 - 20 July 2023

FREE

World at War: Soldiers of Empire

Discover more about the contributions and experiences of soldiers from the British Empire in the First and Second World Wars.

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'On a Knife Edge' book cover
In Conversation

29 November 2022, 6.30pm

FREE

On a Knife Edge: How Germany Lost the First World War

Join Professor Holger Afflerbach as he presents a thought-provoking new perspective on German politics and strategy during the First World War.

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Detail from 'Shellshocked British Army Veterans in Ireland' book cover
Talk

9 December 2022, 12.00pm

FREE

A Difficult Homecoming

Join Dr Michael Robinson as he discusses the struggles faced by First World War veterans who returned home to Ireland with life-changing mental injuries.

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Explore First World War learning resources

Indian Army troops travelling upstream on a barge, Mesopotamia, c1916
Timeline

KS3-KS5 (Ages 11+)

India, Empire and the Army: Interactive Timeline

Explore the history of the British Army in India and the British Empire's Indian armies through this interactive timeline packed with over 200 sources.

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Make Your Own Remembrance Wreath
Home Activity

KS1-KS2 (Ages 5 to 11)

Make Your Own Remembrance Wreath

Explore the history of the poppy and create your own remembrance wreath in this family friendly activity.

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Black Poppy
Video

KS2-KS3 (Ages 7 to 14)

BlackPoppyRose at the National Army Museum

Explore the theme of remembrance and the service of African and Caribbean men and women in the British Army with BlackPoppyRose.

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Women of the West Indies Auxiliary Territorial Service, c1944
Video

KS3-KS4 (Ages 11 to 16)

Virtual Exhibition: West Indian Soldier

Explore the history of Caribbean people in the British Army, and of the British Army in the Caribbean, through this virtual tour of the West Indian Soldier exhibition.

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Soldiers of the British West Indies Regiment, France, 1916
Timeline

KS3-KS4 (Ages 11 to 16)

West Indian Soldier: Interactive Timeline

Explore the history of Caribbean people in the British Army, and of the British Army in the Caribbean, through an interactive timeline.

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Operation Science: Supply Drop
Video

KS2-KS3 (Ages 7 to 14)

Operation Science: Supply Drop

Explore the science behind parachutes and see how well Brussel sprouts can fly in this festive-themed video.

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Operation Science: Body Armour
Video

KS1-KS2 (Ages 5 to 11)

Operation Science: Body Armour

Go behind the scenes at the National Army Museum to discover more about an unusual item in our collection.

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Make Your Own Gift Tin
Home Activity

KS1-KS2 (Ages 5 to 11)

Make Your Own Gift Tin

Discover the story of the Princess Mary Gift Tin in this festive First World War activity.

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The Unknown Warrior prior to embarkation at Boulogne, 1920
Video

KS2-KS3 (Ages 7 to 14)

Virtual Exhibition: The Unknown Warrior

Discover the extraordinary story of the First World War’s Unknown Warrior through our virtual exhibition.

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Portrait of Walter Tull
Video

KS2-KS4 (Ages 7 to 16)

Walter Tull: A Soldier's Story

Explore the life and times of Walter Tull, one of Britain’s first black army officers, who served during the First World War.

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Askaris moving a field gun into position, c1914
Source Pack

KS2-KS5 (Ages 7 to 18)

Black History in the National Army Museum Collections

Explore the history of black soldiers in the British Army through collection-based objects and stories.

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How to Draw: Desert edition
Home Activity

KS1-KS2 (Ages 5 to 11)

How to Draw: Desert edition

Use our step-by-step instructions to try your hand at desert-themed drawings.

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Join the conversation

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