A thousand years of kit inspections – images of soldiers’ personal equipment from 1066 to 2014

A thousand years of kit inspections – images of soldiers’ personal equipment from 1066 to 2014

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A new photographic survey has captured every soldier’s nightmare for a thousand years, from Hastings to Helmand – the layout of their personal kit.



Photographer Thom Atkinson has recorded the typical personal equipment carried by the common British soldier at landmark battles over the past millennium for his ‘Soldiers Inventories’ series.  He painstakingly assembled the items with the help of re-enactors, collectors, historians and serving soldiers.  The 13 images show startling similarities and differences in issued kit – from hand axes to laser-sighted assault rifles – and in personal items – from cup & dice to iPads.

“The Anglo-Saxon warrior at Hastings is perhaps not so very different from the British ‘Tommy’ in the trenches,’ he said.  “There’s a spoon in every picture.  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.”

 

1066 – huscarl, Battle of Hastings

1066 - Hastings 

1244 – mounted knight, Siege of Jerusalem

1244 - Jerusalem 

1415 – archer, Battle of Agincourt

1415 - Agincourt 

1485 – Yorkist man-at-arms, Battle of Bosworth Field

1485 - Bosworth Field 

1588 – caliverman, Tilbury

1588 - Tilbury 

1645 – New Model Army musketeer, Battle of Naseby

1645 - Naseby 

1709 – private sentinel, Battle of Malplaquet

1709 - Malplaquet 

1815 – private soldier, Battle of Waterloo

1815 - Waterloo 

1854 – private soldier, Rifle Brigade, Battle of Alma

1854 - Crimea 

1916 – private soldier, Battle of the Somme

1916 - Somme 

1944 – lance corporal, Parachute Regiment, Battle of Arnhem

1944 - Arnhem 

1982 – Royal Marine Commando, Falklands War

1982 - Falklands

 

2014 – close-support sapper, Royal Engineers, Helmand Province

2014 - Afghanistan

See full list of equipment

 

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