• CLOSED
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London
National Army Museum
  • CLOSED
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London

Second World War

British troops practising for D-Day, 1944

British troops practising for D-Day, 1944
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Second World War

The Second World War took place between 1939 and 1945 and was the bloodiest conflict in human history. It split the world's nations into two opposing military alliances, the Allies and the Axis Powers.

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Explore Second World War stories

3rd County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) keeping fit on board HMT 'Orion' en route to Egypt, 1941

The Sale Collection: Voyaging to war

In the third instalment of this series, we explore the exploits of the 3rd County of London Yeomanry in 1941 as they travel around Africa en route to the desert war in Egypt and Libya.

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Civilians gathered around British tanks, Hamburg, May 1945

The Army and the occupation of Germany

Following their victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, the Allies were faced with administering a country in ruins. British soldiers had a leading role in this, helping to hunt war criminals, rebuild industry and help displaced persons.

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Mapping the Far East Campaign

Mapping the Far East campaign

This video provides a brief summary of the battles fought in the air, on sea and on land during the Far East campaign of the Second World War. It also examines how we remember these events today.

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Japanese flag captured by 6th Battalion, 5th Mahratta Light Infantry, 1945

Japanese good luck flags

A collection of flags captured during the Second World War sheds light on the tough close-quarter combat of the Burma campaign and provides some rare insights about soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army.

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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 of this series, 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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Passing German prisoners of war when moving up to the Aller, Germany, April 1945

Countdown to victory

In the spring of 1945, Allied armies began their final advance into the heart of Nazi Germany. After weeks of intense fighting, they secured victory, ending the most destructive war in Europe's history.

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The burning of Belsen, May 1945

The liberation of Belsen

As the British Army advanced into the heart of Nazi Germany in the spring of 1945, its soldiers were confronted with the full horrors of the Holocaust at the notorious Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

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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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The war on glamour

The war on glamour

During the Second World War, the Army relied on women to perform essential military roles. But some of the tactics used to recruit new members of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) proved highly controversial.

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Abram Games in his studio, c1941

Abram Games and the power of the poster

Abram Games was 'Official War Poster Artist' during the Second World War. Always direct, and occasionally controversial, his posters have left a legacy that continues to influence the art of persuasion used by visual designers today.

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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 they could aspire to.

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Explore Second World War events

First World War recruiting poster showing a line of civilians turning into soldiers
Secondary (virtual)

7 September 2020 - 31 March 2021

FREE

What is Total War? (virtual)

Investigate the concept of Total War by tracing the steps taken to prepare for industrialised conflict in the First and Second World Wars.

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London in the Second World War: The Blitz
Primary workshop

7 September 2020 - 23 July 2021

FREE

London in the Second World War: The Blitz

Use sleuthing skills to discover the stories revealed in our Second World War time capsules. Delivered in partnership with the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

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Foe to Friend: The British Army in Germany since 1945
Exhibition

12 September 2020 - 1 July 2021

FREE

Foe to Friend

More than a million British soldiers have lived and served in Germany over the past 75 years. Immerse yourself in their stories and follow their evolution from conquerors and occupiers to allies and friends.

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What is Total War?
Secondary workshop

1 December 2020 - 23 July 2021

FREE

What is Total War?

Investigate the concept of Total War by tracing the steps taken to prepare for industrialised conflict in the First and Second World Wars.

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Civilians gather around British tanks outside Hamburg rail station, May 1945
Talk

4 December 2020, 12.00pm

FREE

Reconstruction, Renewal and Reconciliation in Occupied Germany

Join Dr Christopher Knowles as he looks at the roles of four British individuals shaping the British occupation in Germany following the Second World War.

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Foe to Friend: The British Army in Germany since 1945
Members Only

9 December 2020, 2.00pm

FREE

Foe to Friend: Curatorial Tour

Behind-the-scenes tour of our special exhibition with Dr Peter Johnston.

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Foe to Friend: The British Army in Germany since 1945
Members Only

13 January 2021, 2.00pm

FREE

Foe to Friend: Curatorial Tour

Behind-the-scenes tour of our special exhibition with Dr Peter Johnston.

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A clergyman and Civil Defence workers helping to clear the debris of a London school, 1940
Primary (virtual)

15 January - 30 April 2021

FREE

London in the Second World War: The Blitz (virtual)

Explore historic artefacts to discover more about the London Blitz and the people who worked to keep civilians safe.

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German paratroops and their equipment descend from aircraft, Crete, 20 May 1941
Patrons Only

30 March 2021, 6.30pm

FREE

The Battle of Crete WWII, Defeat and Defiance

Historian Dr Glyn Prysor will look at the strategic context of the Battle of Crete, providing an overview of events in the air, on land and at sea.

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British vehicles pass through a Greek column, 1941
Patrons Only

24 - 29 April 2021

FREE

The Battle of Crete WWII, Defeat and Defiance (Battlefield Walk)

A special tour of the beautiful Mediterranean island of Crete, exploring the famous battle of May 1941 and its aftermath.

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Explore Second World War learning resources

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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Jungle Survival Quiz
Home Activity

KS2 (Age 7 to 11)

Jungle Survival Quiz

Have you got what it takes to survive in the jungle? Try our quiz to find out.

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How to Draw: Desert edition
Home Activity

KS1-KS2 (Age 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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How To Draw: Transport
Home Activity

KS1-KS2 (Ages 5 to 11)

How to Draw: Transport edition

Use our simple step-by-step instructions to draw Army-related transport.

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Pack your bag: Scavenger hunt
Home Activity

KS1-KS2 (Ages 5 to 11)

Pack your bag: Scavenger hunt

Download our at-home scavenger hunt and get ready to pack your bag for an adventure around the house.

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How to Draw: Second World War edition
Home Activity

KS1-KS2 (Ages 5 to 11)

How to Draw: Second World War edition

Use our simple step-by-step instructions to have a go at drawing items from the Second World War.

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Morse code challenge
Home Activity

KS2 (Ages 7 to 11)

Morse code challenge

Can you crack the code? Try our Morse code challenge at home!

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Join the conversation

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