Alter Egos: World War I Re-Enactors

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Custom silicone technician Corin Watts, portraying a Lance Corporal in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps, part of the Rifles Living History Society, participates in a rifle drill whilst recreating life as a First World War soldier at the Colchester Military Tournament in Colchester, eastern England July 6, 2014. Corin became interested in World War One when, as a child, he would pass the statue of “The Driver” on the Royal Artillery Monument by Charles Sargeant Jagger. Because of its size and imposing nature it scared him, but also provoked him to ask questions about the Great War. Of his fellow re-enactors he says “I like the people, its an odd community re-enactment, they are the most bizarre but at the same time most grounded and down to earth people you’d ever meet”. United by a fascination with military history and a fondness for dressing up, groups such as the Rifles Living History Society and the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment Living History Group get together to recreate aspects of life during the First World War. Reuters photographer Luke MacGregor photographed members of the groups, both as they took part in living history events and at their day jobs. (Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

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Custom silicone technician Corin Watts works on a prosthetic partial hand at the London Prosthetic Centre in Kingston-Upon-Thames, southwest London, August 12, 2014. (Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

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Factory landlord Lawrence Taylor (L), portraying a Colour Sergeant from the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, part of the Rifles Living History Society, performs a drill with Connor Young (R) of the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment Living History Group as they recreate the life of a First World War soldier at the Eden Valley Museum in Edenbridge in southeast England May 10, 2014. Lawrence has always had an interest in military history and specifically “The Rifles” – his veteran father’s WWII regiment. When he became a re-enactor he chose not to re-enact WWII as many of the veterans are still alive, and he felt uncomfortable as he remembers his father would have flashbacks and nightmares about the war. (Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

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Factory landlord Lawrence Taylor poses in the factory he rents to Enfield Speciality Doors in Enfield, north London, August 12, 2014. (Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

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Theatre nurse Ciaran Dukes (C) portraying a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps marches with other re-enactors depicting World War One drills at the Eden Valley Museum at Edenbridge in south east England May 10, 2014. (Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

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Theatre nurse Ciaran Dukes poses for a photograph in his scrubs in Bromley, southeast London, June 23, 2014. (Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

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Carpenter Richard Helad, portraying a Lance Corporal of the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Living History Group, participates in a mock WWI battle at the Colchester Military Tournament in Colchester, eastern England July 5, 2014. Helad’s interest in re-enacting was sparked by visiting a historical military show with his son, he started buying military uniform and equipment and became more involved in the group. He feels it is important to keep the memory alive of those who died and to educate people about how the war changed the social history of the country, including securing the vote for women and opening up opportunities for them in the workplace. (Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

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Carpenter Richard Helad adjusts a door in a new apartment constructed by Berkeley Homes in Hackney, northeast London July 22, 2014. (Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

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Heavy goods vehicle driver Philip Francis (3rd L), portraying a private from the 16th Lancers, rides his horse Cassius as he participates in a mock battle illustrating the First World War at the Colchester Military Tournament in Colchester, eastern England, July 6, 2014. Francis grew up in a family who were involved in re-enacting the English civil war period. He remembers being four years old and the fun of the whole family dressing up. He is interested in early aircraft, which were used during WWI and had a grandfather who was in the cavalry. “I enjoy the regimental nature of World War One re-enactment, the history of it, every weekend I learn something new” he said. (Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

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Heavy goods vehicle driver Philip Francis poses for a photograph at the Geoff Greenfield yard in Upper Beeding, near Steyning in southern England July 21, 2014. (Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

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Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Peter Austridge (L), portraying a Corporal in the 4th Battalion Royal Fusilier Territorial Army, recreates the camp life of a First World War soldier with other re-enactors Steve Neville (2nd L) Andrew Morgan (2nd R) and Phil Curtis (R) at the Colchester Military Tournament in Colchester, eastern England July 6, 2014. Peter became interested in WWI re-enactment because of three sets of medals handed down to him from his great uncles. He is fascinated by the details of the soldiers everyday life. Unlike earlier wars he says there are researchable facts about what people wore and ate. For him the enjoyment of re-enacting is bringing the bit of history he’s learned to life for others. (Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

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Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Peter Austridge of the Enfield Borough Police poses whilst on patrol on the Shires Estate in Edmonton, north London, July 16, 2014. (Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

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Freight train driver Chris Bingham (R), portraying a private, from the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Living History Group, and carpenter Richard Helad (L), portraying a Lance Corporal, participate in a mock battle illustrating the First World War at the Colchester Military Tournament in Colchester, eastern England July 6, 2014. Chris has had a lifelong interest in all things military, but his interest in WWI developed as he researched his family history and discovered his great-grandfather Charles Bingham and a great-uncle Moses had served in the war. Moses was killed in the war, but Charles survived, although he suffered severe shell-shock. Bingham became a re-enactor in 2010 after visiting a historical military show. He felt that WWI was not as well remembered as the Second World War, he wanted to keep the memory alive so that people didn’t forget. (Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

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Freight train driver Chris Bingham poses for a photograph at the Hoo Junction Marshalling Yard near Gravesend in southern England July 16, 2014. (Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

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City of Westminster Environmental Health officer Steve Neville (R) portrays a rifleman in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps with the Rifles Living History Society as he recreates the life of a First World War soldier at the Colchester Military Tournament in Colchester, eastern England July 5, 2014. Steve was already a re-enactor of the Napoleonic Wars but decided to move forward in time and concentrate on the First World War, primarily because he had four ancestors who fought in the war. His great-grandfather Patrick Driscoll was killed in the battle of Cambrai, and a great uncle was injured in the Battle of the Somme but survived. His main enjoyment in participating in the re-enactments are “the bangs and smoke”. (Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

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City of Westminster Environmental Health officer Steve Neville poses at a London Westminster air quality monitoring site in central London August 12, 2014. (Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

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Senior construction manager Paul Barker (3rd R) portrays a Corporal in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps with the Rifles Living History Society as he participates in a gas mask check with Ciaran Watts (L), portraying a Lance Corporal, and Pat Taylor (2L) who is dressed as a member of the Women’s Auxilliary Army Corps at the Colchester Military Tournament in Colchester, eastern England July 5, 2014. (Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

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Senior construction manager Paul Barker poses on site during an office renovation project in the Canary Wharf business district in London July 16, 2014. (Photo by Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

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