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

Second World War

British troops practising for D-Day, 1944

British troops practising for D-Day, 1944
Featured

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

Gerry Chester, during training with the Royal Tank Regiment, c1942

Sergeant Arthur ‘Gerry’ Chester

Gerry Chester served with the tanks of the North Irish Horse in North Africa and Italy during the Second World War. Like other tankmen, he forged a close bond with his crew mates, with whom he endured many hardships and combat actions.

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Section Leader Mary Oldnall of the ATS working electrical apparatus, Shoeburyness, c1941

Hidden voices: Mary Coomer

The voice of Mary Coomer, who served in the ATS during the Second World War, was recently discovered in the National Army Museum's collection of oral history interviews. This is her story, in her own words.

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Valerie Erskine Howe, Auxiliary Territorial Service, on a motorbike, c1944

Hidden voices: Valerie Erskine Howe

What would you do if your partner told you to get out there and 'learn about life' before they would marry you? Valerie Erskine Howe opted to join the Army... in the middle of a war. This is her story.

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3rd County of London Crusader tank and crew, Libya, 1941

The Sale Collection: Operation Crusader

In the fourth instalment, we explore the wartime exploits of the 3rd County of London Yeomanry in 1941. During this time, the men of the unit underwent a baptism of fire in the Libyan desert.

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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, 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, 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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Explore Second World War events

London in the Second World War: The Blitz
Primary workshop

7 September 2020 - 20 July 2023

FREE

London in the Second World War: The Blitz

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

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

12 September 2020 - 21 August 2024

FREE

Foe to Friend

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

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

1 September 2021 - 20 July 2023

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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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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Detail from 'Eavesdropping on the Emperor' book cover
Talk

2 December 2022, 12.00pm

FREE

Eavesdropping on the Emperor

Join Professor Peter Kornicki as he explores the work undertaken by linguists - from code breaking to radio operating - against Japanese forces in India and Burma during the Second World War.

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Tommy Roper character actor
Performance

4 December 2022

FREE

Soldier Stories: Tommy Roper

Meet characters, both real and imagined, from the Army’s past and hear their amazing stories in our galleries.

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'Command' book cover
In Conversation

8 December 2022, 6.30pm

£15.00

Command: How the Allies Learned to Win the Second World War

SOLD OUT: Join Al Murray in conversation with James Holland as they discuss the careers and actions of some of the leading figures in the Allied armies during the Second World War.

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Troops of 4/4th Gurkha Rifles crossing the River Irrawaddy in Burma, 1945
Members Only

19 December 2022, 2.00pm

FREE

Rise of the Phoenix: The Burma Campaign of 1945

Join esteemed academic Daniel Marston at this exclusive members’ event as he discusses his latest work on the 1945 Burma Campaign and the transformation of the British Indian Army.

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Explore Second 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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Members of the Coldstream Guards during an infantry exercise in Germany, c1977
Timeline

KS4-KS5 (Ages 14+)

Britain, the Army and the Cold War: Interactive Timeline

Explore the British Army’s role in the Cold War through this interactive timeline packed with over 100 sources. 

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Let's Talk Tanks
Video

KS2 (Ages 7 to 11)

Let’s Talk Tanks

Set off on a mission to find out more about the everyday lives of tank crews during the Second World War in this family friendly video.

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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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Shirley Hamilton: ATS Servicewoman
Video

KS2-KS3 (Ages 7 to 14)

Shirley Hamilton: ATS Servicewoman

Explore the contribution of Caribbean women who joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) during the Second World War.

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