Fascinating Photos Reveal How Much Soldier’s Gear Has Changed Over The Last 1,000 Years.
Winter, 1915. The family of a captain — an all-in-one athlete, solider, and poet — receives a package in his stead. In it, they find a kit bag from his regiment at the Western Front. He had been shot in the head by a sniper at the tender age of 20 in the Battle of Loos, on the thirteenth of October.
In his bag: personal effects, uniform, papers — some of which would later become the famous sonnet 'When You See Millions of the Mouthless Dead.' This young man was Charles Sorley.
When you see millions of the mouthless dead
Across your dreams in pale battalions go,
Say not soft things as other men have said,
That you'll remember. For you need not so.
Moved by the tragic heroes of the past and Tim O'Brien's novel The Things They Carried, photographer Thom Atkinson created the series 'Soliders' Inventories' exhibiting a total of 13 different military kits from 1066-2014.
According to an interview with Digital Photography Review, the artifacts except for the most modern pieces are owned by members of various and living history groups. In addition to re-enactors, Atkinson received help from collectors, historians, and serving soldiers to paint as accurate a picture as possible for each kit.
The results — even the spoons, one seen in every photo — prove insightful and far more interesting, I think, than the predictable 'What's in your bag?' captures we see today. Take a look at what changes and what the stays the same in entertainment, weaponry, and uniform, and more.
1066: Huscarl, Battle of Hastings
1244: Mounted Knight, Siege of Jerusalem
1415: Fighting Archer, Battle of Agincourt
1485: Yorkist Man-at-Arms, Battle of Bosworth
1588: Trainband Caliverman, Tilbury
1645: New Model Army Musketeer, Battle of Naseby
1709: Private Sentinel, Battle of Malplaquet
1815: Private Soldier, Battle of Waterloo
1854: Private Soldier, Rifle Brigade, Battle of Alma
1916: Private Soldier, Battle of the Somme
1944: Lance Corporal, Parachute Brigade, Battle of Arnhem
1982: Royal Marine Commando, Falklands conflict
2014: Close-Support Sapper, Royal Engineers, Helmand Province
See the full list of items for each kit here.