Imperial War Museum London – Part I

    If you’re in London please take time to visit one of the Imperial War Museums.

    It’s a great place to see British Military History (and hide from the terrible weather).

    The pictures below are from TFB’s recent visit to Imperial War Museum London, on Lambeth Road.



    Imperial War Museums (IWM) is a British national museum organization with branches at five locations in England, three of which are in London. Founded as the Imperial War Museum in 1917, the museum was intended to record the civil and military war effort and sacrifice of Britain and its Empire during the First World War. The museum’s remit has since expanded to include all conflicts in which British or Commonwealth forces have been involved since 1914. As of 2012, the museum aims ‘to provide for, and to encourage, the study and understanding of the history of modern war and “wartime experience”‘.


    British 15-inch naval guns (38 cm) is what greets visitors at the main entrance. One of these guns was mounted on the HMR Ramillies in 1916 and saw action in 1920 in the Greco-Turkish war.


    Each example is said to weigh 100 tons and could fire a 876 kg shell up to 16 miles or 29 kilometers.

    Junior TFB member Max shows the size of the projectile. That would make the projectile about 170 cm long.


    The entrance of the museum. Note the HarrierJet, Spitfire and the V2 rocket. My recommendation is to start from the bottom, with World War I sections and work your way to the top.

    The top part of the museum features a rather large part about the Holocaust and Crimes against Humanity, no pictures allowed but a must to visit for obvious reasons.


    Below: Various inventions to hurt other people.


    The words of a French soldier in 1918.


    German body armour and grenades.


    I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that the makers of the computer game Battlefield 1 have visited this museum for inspiration.


    Picture from Battlefield 1


    Old School snipers, nevertheless deadly. Converted Gewehr 98 with scope.


    Lewis machine gun, light enough to be carried by attacking troops.


    By late 1917 each platoon had two Lewis guns. 47 round drum. At the back, a rifle with some sort of grenade launcher.


    The Germans also had developed a machine gun that could be carried, sort of.

    The 22 kilogram heavy MG08/15 was used from 1917.

    Note the flame thrower top right. If you’ve played Battlefield 1 you know!


    The Webley Mark VI revolver, carried by Captain Carpenter during the Zeebrugge Raid in 1918.



    The Irish Republican Army used smuggled Thompson sub-machine guns from 1921. The Provisional IRA used the Thompsons into the 1970s. Makes you wonder how many there are left?


    Due to TFB’s focus, these articles focus on firearms but there are lot of other interesting planes, boats, vehicles and automobiles to look at.


    Mid-left, Mark 1 Welgun sub-machine gun in 9×19 mm, designed by SOE but never used in operations.

    Below the Welgun, Mark II 9 mm Sten, a simple mass produced sub-machine gun.


    Nr 9, Mark 1 Welgun sub-machine gun


    Polish 9 mm Radom automatic pistol. This pistol was carried by SOE agent Christine Granville.


    United Defence 9 mm M42 “Marlin” sub-machine gun.


    Browning .30 machine gun, as used on SAS vechicles during the Italian campaign.


    Thompson .45 sub-machine gun and M1 .30 carbine used by SAS. The revoler is a .38 Webley.


    Below: Nr. 13 is a Delisle silenced carbine. Nr. 14 is a M2 .30 caliber carbine.

    At the back, No. 5 .303 rifle, also known as the “jungle carbine”.


    Who dares wins” – The Secret Soldiers of the British SAS.

    At the back .303 No 4 Mark 1T sniper rifle, L1A1 7,62 mm SLR self loading rifle and RP46 Light machine gun captured by the SAS in Oman.

    M79 grenade launcher, single shot.



    The IWM London website:

    Entrance is free. Special exhibitions may cost money, check at the entrance.

    The address is Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ, Great Britain.

    I would allow at least 1 hours up to 2.5 hours for the visit, depending on your level of interest.

    Next: Part II

    Eric B

    Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with a European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatics, optics, thermals and suppressors. TCCC Certified. Occasionaly seen in a 6×6 Bug Out Vehicle, always with a big smile.