• 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

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 - 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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Tommy Roper character actor
Performance

3 July 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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'Foe to Friend' exhibition space
Tour

8 July 2022, 3.00pm

FREE

British Sign Language Tour: Arrival and Departure

Join expert guide Edward Richards for a British Sign Language (BSL) tour examining how the people of Germany were impacted by the British occupation after the Second World War.

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Sister Evelyn Morgan character actor
Performance

10 July 2022

FREE

Soldier Stories: Sister Evelyn Morgan

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

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'Britain's Secret Defences' book cover
Book Launch

13 July 2022, 6.30pm

FREE

Britain’s Secret Defences

Join Andrew Chatterton for the launch of his new book examining Britain’s readiness to defend against a German invasion during the Second World War.

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Tommy Roper character actor
Performance

24 July 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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'The Lighthouse of Stalingrad' book cover
Book Launch

26 July 2022, 6.30pm

£10.00

The Lighthouse of Stalingrad

Join historian Iain MacGregor as he unpicks the legend of ‘The Lighthouse’, a story of heroic struggle at the heart of the Battle of Stalingrad.

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Explore Second World War learning resources

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