13 Complete Soldier's Kits From The Armies Of 1066 Until 2014


1066 huscarl, Battle of Hastings ‘The Anglo-Saxon warrior at Hastings is perhaps not so very different from the British “Tommy” in the trenches,’ photographer Thom Atkinson says. At the Battle of Hastings, soldiers' choice of weaponary was extensive.

Picture: THOM ATKINSON

1244 mounted knight, Siege of Jerusalem Re-enactment groups, collectors, historians and serving soldiers helped photographer Thom Atkinson assemble the components for each shot. ‘It was hard to track down knowledgeable people with the correct equipment,’ he says. ‘The pictures are really the product of their knowledge and experience.’



Picture: THOM ATKINSON


1415 fighting archer, Battle of Agincourt Having worked on projects with the Wellcome Trust and the Natural History Museum, photographer Thom Atkinson has turned his focus to what he describes as ‘the mythology surrounding Britain’s relationship with war’.


Picture: THOM ATKINSON

1485 Yorkist man-at-arms, Battle of Bosworth ‘There’s a spoon in every picture,’ Atkinson says. ‘I think that’s wonderful. The requirement of food, and the experience of eating, hasn’t changed in 1,000 years. It’s the same with warmth, water, protection, entertainment.’




Picture: THOM ATKINSON

1588 trainband caliverman, Tilbury The similarities between the kits are as startling as the differences. Notepads become iPads, 18th-century bowls mirror modern mess tins; games such as chess or cards appear regularly.

Picture: THOM ATKINSON

1645 New Model Army musketeer, Battle of Naseby Each kit represents the personal equipment carried by a notional common British soldier at a landmark battle over the past millennium. It is a sequence punctuated by Bosworth, Naseby, Waterloo, the Somme, Arnhem and the Falklands – bookended by the Battle of Hastings and Helmand Province.


Picture: THOM ATKINSON

1709 private sentinel, Battle of Malplaquet Atkinson says the project, which took him nine months, was an education. ‘I’ve never been a soldier. It’s difficult to look in on a subject like this and completely understand it. I wanted it to be about people. Watching everything unfold, I begin to feel that we really are the same creatures with the same fundamental needs.’



Picture: THOM ATKINSON

1815 private soldier, Battle of Waterloo Kit issued to soldiers fighting in the Battle of Waterloo included a pewter tankard and a draughts set.


Picture: THOM ATKINSON

1854 private soldier, Rifle Brigade, Battle of Alma Each picture depicts the bandages, bayonets and bullets of survival, and the hooks on which humanity hangs: letter paper, prayer books and Bibles.



Picture: THOM ATKINSON

1916 private soldier, Battle of the Somme While the First World War was the first modern war, as the Somme kit illustrates, it was also primitive. Along with his gas mask a private would be issued with a spiked ‘trench club’ – almost identical to medieval weapons.



Picture: THOM ATKINSON

1944 lance corporal, Parachute Brigade, Battle of Arnhem Each photograph shows a soldier’s world condensed into a pared-down manifest of defences, provisions and distractions. There is the formal (as issued by the quartermaster and armourer) and the personal (timepieces, crucifixes, combs and shaving brushes).


Picture: THOM ATKINSON

1982 Royal Marine Commando, Falklands conflict From the cumbersome armour worn by a Yorkist man-at-arms in 1485 to the packs yomped into Port Stanley on the backs of Royal Marines five centuries later, the literal burden of a soldier’s endeavour is on view.



Picture: THOM ATKINSON


2014 close-support sapper, Royal Engineers, Helmland Province The evolution of technology that emerges from the series is a process that has accelerated over the past century. The pocket watch of 1916 is today a waterproof digital wristwatch; the bolt-action Lee-Enfield rifle has been replaced by laser-sighted light assault carbines; and lightweight camouflage Kevlar vests take the place of khaki woollen Pattern service tunics.



Picture: THOM ATKINSON

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About Gaby F

lectora, estudiosa de la historia antigua, especialmente la mitología germánica, indoeuropea. ".
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