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.
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.
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.
New Model Army musketeer 1645
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.
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.
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