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

India

Map briefing for Sikh recruits, 1947
Featured story

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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Explore India stories

Officers and non-commissioned officers of the 2nd Devonshire Regiment, Wuutho, Burma, 1891

Third Burma War

Following a series of fractious disputes, the British invaded Upper Burma in late 1885 and overthrew its king. While the country was quickly annexed to British India, a guerrilla war ensued that rumbled on for the best part of a decade.

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The 18th and 80th Regiments storming the Shwedagon Pagoda, Rangoon, 1852

Second Burma War

This brief conflict in 1852-53 was largely provoked by the East India Company, which was hungry for new territory and resources like teak and rubber. It ended in a British victory and saw Lower Burma become a province of British India.

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The British landing at Rangoon, 11 May 1824

First Burma War

Frontier clashes between British India and the Burmese Empire escalated into a full-blown war that lasted from 1824 to 1826. This conflict resulted in parts of Burma coming under the control of the East India Company.

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Bengal Army Troops, 1785

Armies of the East India Company

Originally formed to trade in Asia, the East India Company came to rule large areas of the Indian subcontinent, exercising military power through its formidable armed forces.

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The 3rd Light Dragoons at Ferozeshah, 21 December 1845

First Sikh War

In 1845-46, the British fought a war against the Sikh Empire in the Punjab. After several bitterly fought battles, the conflict ended with the British taking partial control of the Sikh territories.

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The Battle of Chillianwala, 13 January 1849

Second Sikh War

In 1848-49, British-Indian forces were once again at war with the Sikh Empire. The campaign that raged across the Punjab eventually led to the region's full annexation by the British and the removal of one of the last Indian powers able to challenge British control of the subcontinent.

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2nd Battalion 5th Gurkha Rifles at Ahnai Tangi in Waziristan, 14 January 1920

The North-West Frontier

Between 1849 and 1947, British and Indian soldiers undertook a series of punitive expeditions against the fiercely independent tribesmen of this wild and mountainous region.

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Disinfecting plague houses with a flushing engine, 1897

The Bombay plague

In 1896, bubonic plague broke out in Bombay. The fightback against this deadly epidemic was fully documented by a British military officer in a remarkable series of photographs.

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Tipu Sultan's war turban taken during the capture of Seringapatam in 1799

Tipu Sultan’s war turban

A rare helmet belonging to one of India's greatest warrior princes sheds light on the relatively unknown Mysore Wars, a series of conflicts in the late 18th century that helped decide the political future of southern India.

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Saving the guns at Maiwand, 1880

Second Afghan War

Between 1878 and 1880, British-Indian forces fought a war to ensure that Afghanistan remained free from Russian interference. Although eventually successful, the British suffered several setbacks in their struggle to control the volatile country.

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Tribesmen from Kohistan, a region north-east of Kabul, c1842

First Afghan War

Between 1839 and 1842, British imperial forces fought a bitter war in Afghanistan. Initially successful, the British eventually withdrew having suffered one of the worst military disasters of the 19th century.

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Glengarry badge, 106th Regiment of Foot (Bombay Light Infantry), c1874

106th Regiment of Foot (Bombay Light Infantry)

This infantry unit was raised for the army of the East India Company in 1839, but joined the British Army in 1862. It continued in service until the 1881 reforms, when it was merged into The Durham Light Infantry.

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Explore India events

The Indian 'Mutiny'?
Secondary workshop

8 January - 19 July 2024

FREE

The Indian ‘Mutiny’?

Analyse evidence from documents and artefacts, then curate an exhibition to make a case for whether the conflict was a mutiny or war of independence.

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’Mutinous Sepoys’, c1857
Secondary (virtual)

8 January - 19 July 2024

FREE

The Indian ‘Mutiny’? (virtual)

Analyse evidence from documents and artefacts, then curate an exhibition to make a case for whether the conflict was a mutiny or war of independence.

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Charge of the 3rd King's Own Light Dragoons at Chillianwala, 1849
Talk At Museum / Online

22 March 2024, 12.00pm

FREE

The Second Sikh War

Amarpal Singh Sidhu explores the complex and often-overlooked history of the Second Sikh War and the lasting effect it had on the region in which it was fought.

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A graphical composite image representing the event
Talk At Museum

20 April 2024, 11.00am

FREE

The 2nd Dorset Regiment at the Battle of Kohima

Christopher Jary discusses the role of the 2nd Dorset Regiment at the Battle of Kohima in 1944.

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A graphical composite image representing the event
Talk At Museum

20 April 2024, 12.00pm

FREE

The Transformation of the Indian Army

Dr Alan Jeffreys examines the transformation of the Indian Army over the course of the Second World War.

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A graphical composite image representing the event
Talk At Museum

20 April 2024, 3.15pm

FREE

Medical Support at the Siege of Kohima

Colonel (Retd) Soundararajan Jagdish recounts the extraordinary performance of the medical personnel who served during the Battle of Kohima.

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A graphical composite image representing the event
Talk At Museum

20 April 2024, 4.00pm

£12.50

Kohima: Britain’s Greatest Battle

Dr Robert Lyman outlines his case for why Kohima should be considered Britain’s greatest battle.

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A graphical composite image representing the event
Talk At Museum

21 April 2024, 11.15am

FREE

Armoured Warfare in the Burma Campaign

Robert Palmer examines the role of armoured cars and tanks during the Burma campaign.

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A graphical composite image representing the event
Talk At Museum

21 April 2024, 12.00pm

£12.50

The Epic Siege of Kohima

Journalist Fergal Keane recounts the harrowing events at Kohima in 1944 and considers the impact on the defeated soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army.

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A graphical composite image representing the event
Talk At Museum

21 April 2024, 2.00pm

£12.50

Slim: Britain’s Greatest General

Dr Robert Lyman reveals how Field Marshal William Slim was able to turn the tide of the Burma campaign.

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A graphical composite image representing the event
Talk At Museum

21 April 2024, 3.15pm

FREE

The VCs at Kohima

Author and journalist Steve Snelling discusses the heroic actions of the men awarded Victoria Crosses after the Battle of Kohima.

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A graphical composite image representing the event
Talk At Museum

21 April 2024, 4.00pm

FREE

Thirty-Nine Hours: The Assam Regiment’s March to Kohima

Charlotte Carty recounts her epic mission to retrace the 39-hour march from Jessami to Kohima undertaken by the Assam Regiment in 1944.

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Explore India learning resources

Army and Empire: Gallery Trail
Trail

KS4-KS5 (Ages 14 to 16+)

Army and Empire: Gallery Trail

Follow this gallery trail to find out more about the Army’s role in the British Empire.

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'The Divided Dominion', poster, published 21 June 1947
Video

KS3-KS4 (Ages 11 to 16)

The Partition of India: A Poetic Retelling

Discover more about the Partition of India and the events leading up to it through this poetry film, featuring archival images and original epic poetry.

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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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