National Army Museum in May


12 April 2023
Origins of the SAS in WWII revealed Origins of the SAS in WWII revealed
Here’s what events are coming up at the NAM, in Chelsea, London, during the month of May, in addition to the long-running exhibitions.

Conflict in Europe

Join curator Sophie Stathi on a guided tour of the brand-new permanent gallery, Conflict in Europe, and discover the stories behind some of the objects on display. Since the 17th century, the British Army has deployed around the world. But nowhere has conflict been more decisive to the fate of the British Isles than in Europe.

Curator Sophie Stathi will reveal how, from its earliest days, the Army engaged in European warfare with the aim of securing the safety of the British Isles. She will walk you through the gallery, taking in objects relating to conflicts as diverse as the Battle of Waterloo, World War I and the Bosnian War. The tour will last approximately one hour.


  • Date: 6pm, 4 May
  • Cost: £5


Illustrated History of the SAS in WWII

In his new authorised history of the SAS, Joshua Levine tells the story of a small band of men who were brought together in the North African desert with the aim of delivering a radical new form of warfare. To write the book, Joshua had exclusive access to the SAS archives and was able to unlock never-before-seen photographs and unheard personal accounts that vividly portray what life was like in the early days of the unit.

In this exclusive pre-publication book launch, Levine will draw on individual stories and personal testimony, including interviews with veterans and family members of the original troupe, to examine what it was like to fight, train and live as a soldier in the SAS.


  • Date: 6.30pm, 10 May
  • Cost: £10


Crafting Ceremony: Military Uniforms

Over the last year, soldiers from the British Army have performed a vital and visible role in British state ceremony during both the Platinum Jubilee and the State Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II. In 2023, they are set to reprise their important ceremonial duties at the coronation of King Charles III.

The uniforms that soldiers wear at such events are both eye catching and distinctive, embodying the unique pageantry that accompanies the British monarchy. However, military uniforms also play a role in shaping a soldier’s identity, conveying important information about regiment and rank.

In this special evening event, Museum curators and conservators will begin proceedings by highlighting the history and traditions behind ceremonial uniforms and discussing the work that goes into preserving them for posterity.


  • Date: 6.30pm, 11 May
  • Cost: £12


The Enigma machine used by the GermansFrom Warsaw to Bletchley Park

Uncover the international effort that went into cracking the Enigma code during the Second World War with Dr David Kenyon. Enigma was a family of machines used by the German armed forces to encode their secret messages. By the outbreak of World War II, it was widely considered unbreakable.

The first wartime Enigma messages were deciphered by the British in January 1940. However, this was the culmination of a process of examination and analysis that had begun in the 1920s. The final breakthrough was a hard-won team effort, involving experts in the UK, France and Poland.

In this revealing talk, Dr David Kenyon traces the story of the international attack on Enigma from London, via Paris and Warsaw, to Bletchley Park.


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  • Date: 12noon, 12 May
  • Cost: Free but requires booking for in person and registering for online


The Legacy of Kosova

Examine the role of NATO and Russian troops in Kosovo with Professor Tracey German, and discover the ongoing legacy of the conflict that began there in the 1990s. In 1999, British soldiers deployed to Kosovo in the western Balkans as part of a NATO-led peacekeeping force. The region had become unstable as the majority ethnic Albanian population grew increasingly resistant to Serbian rule.

Eventually, over 40,000 NATO troops would deploy, supported by a contingent of Russian soldiers. However, the close proximity of this co-operative effort led to growing tensions between the two partners.


  • Date: 12noon, 19 May
  • Cost: Free but requires booking for in person and registering for online


Penal Company in the FalklandsPenal Company on the Falklands

Philip Neame, commander of D Company 2 PARA during the Falklands War, tells the compelling story of the Parachute Regiment’s role in that conflict. In April 1982, the Argentine military invaded the Falkland Islands. On leave at the time, 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment was recalled to barracks and joined the hastily assembled task force to recover the Islands.

For the soldiers of 2 PARA, the Falklands War would be an arduous campaign. At the Battle of Goose Green, they would lose their commander, Colonel ‘H’ Jones, who was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. Later, they would fight at Wireless Ridge, the final gateway to Port Stanley.


  • Date: 12noon, 26 May
  • Cost: Free but requires booking for in person and registering for online




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Celebrate the heroes of the Battle of Britain with a commemorative bookazine, with colour images throughout, for £8.99. Get your 164 page copy here.

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