Military Kit Through the Ages: from the Battle of Hastings to Helmand

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Photographs by Thom Atkinson of military kit through the ages suggest that while technology evolves apace, the experience of soldiers in the face of war is unchanging.

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1244 mounted knight, Siege of Jerusalem: The small white cloth (above shield) shows the soldier’s personal effects: snips for cutting small items; a leather box of needles; a roll of thread, a fire steel and a shard of flint for sparks. The cloth itself could be used for tinder to start fires.

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Longbowman, 1415

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1485 Yorkist man-at-arms, Battle of Bosworth: The sword blade was stamped with a maker’s mark. A dagger called a misericorde (above sword) could be used to kill a dying comrade on the battlefield more quickly by stabbing him under the left armpit to the heart or through the eyes to the brain.

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New Model Army musketeer 1645

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Private, 1709

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1815 private soldier, Battle of Waterloo: Shoes (left) made of leather with the rough side facing out were straight-lasted, so there was no right or left shoe; soldiers would swap them around to prevent excessive wear on one side. Games (centre) included draughts, cards and a yo-yo.

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1944 lance corporal, Parachute Brigade, Battle of Arnhem: Two kinds of hand grenade were issued (bottom): the No 36 Mills grenade used in the First World War and the No 69 made from Bakelite, which caused less collateral damage. The Sten Mark V submachine gun was first issued in 1944.

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2014 close-support sapper, Royal Engineers, Helmand Province: Sandals (top right) are issued kit, as soldiers may need to run to cover even while showering. Ballistic protection (centre) for the groin is very restrictive but a life-saving piece of equipment. An iPad Mini (bottom left) is not issued but most soldiers take a tablet for down time.

Source: The Telegraph

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