Tuesday 8 May 2012


The Capital City has a host of museums, galleries and places to visit, some are more famous than others, and any fans of military history will be more than aware of the excellent Imperial War Museum.
People might be less aware of The National Army Museum tucked away amongst the four wheel drives and luxury flats in Chelsea. The other residents along the Royal Hospital Road are the Chelsea Pensioners, not a bad place to spend a well deserved retirement.

Not only is the museum free entry, the cloakroom is free which is handy with the April showers drenching me on my short walk from Sloane Square. The museum is on five floors and superbly laid out, you start at the bottom and walk your way through the entire history of the British Army. Like myself the camera was still drying out, so no photos of the beginning that focused the how the army evolved from the Civil War, right through to the conflicts with France in the 19th century.
So the Boer War was the first stop…

Those Zulus get everywhere.

As a Somerset lad, it was nice to see this memorial.

The older lads know this I’m sure.
Obviously World War 1 was a defining moment in the army’s history and like everywhere else in the museum the variety and number of artefact's big or small on display were plentiful and really interesting.

Like in history the World War 2 soon followed, and it would be remiss of my not to have a couple of shots of the clobber worn during the conflict…

No desert boots.

Nigel Cabourn next collection.

Smock glorious smock.
My visit coincided with the last day of the Commando comic’s exhibition. As a kid I spent hours pouring through my Dad’s cardboard box of his copies, so it was a real joy to have a look at the temporary display. It would be more than a perfect addition as a permanent exhibit, a shame that subsequent visitors will miss out.

Whilst it was no surprise given the quality of the museum from the start – the post war history of the Army was particularly impressive. The conflicts in Ireland, The Falklands, Iraq as well as the numerous peacekeeping missions are covered extremely well and just as vital impartially.

Leaflets and posters from both sides of the Irish conflict.

Diamonds the root of the peace keeping missions in Africa.

Post War 3 The man at the heart of two big conflicts.

A bomb disposal machine.

Post War 5 Afghanistan isn’t a new problem.

Another temporary exhibition is the one on War Horse which those familiar with the amazing West End play and the film will enjoy.
I spent over 3 hours at the Museum and that was my taking a more general look around the place rather than looking at every single thing – if you did you could easily spend all day there. It’s definitely a place to go back to again and again and spend an hour on a particular part of the huge museum. For those with little uns’ it’s well worth a visit, an excellent Kids Zone on the lower ground floor and with plenty of things for the kids to get their hands on and mess around with, and even the adults can even get involved.

Words and pictures by Seb W.

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