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These Pictures Show Exactly How British Soldiers’ Kit Has Changed Over The Last 1,000 Years

While almost every item has changed, a few have remained the same across centuries.

Thom Atkinson’s photo project looks at the equipment carried by the common soldier over the last 1,000 years, tracing its development from the Battle of Hastings to modern-day Afghanistan.

1. Huscarl, Battle of Hastings, 1066

Thom Atkinson / Via thomatkinson.com

Soldiers in 1066 carried a variety of weapons for different purposes, but also had keepsakes such as dice and, most interestingly, a spoon. Every British soldier’s kit featured in Atkinson’s project includes a spoon.

2. Mounted knight, Siege of Jerusalem, 1244

Thom Atkinson / Via thomatkinson.com

In the Crusades, kit included rosary beads and a wider selection of protection.

3. Fighting archer, Battle of Agincourt, 1415

Thom Atkinson / Via thomatkinson.com

One British tactic that came to the fore at Agincourt was the planting of wooden stakes to defend against cavalry, hence these wooden stakes.

4. Yorkist man-at-arms, Battle of Bosworth, 1485

Thom Atkinson / Via thomatkinson.com

5. Trained band caliverman, Tilbury, 1588

Thom Atkinson / Via thomatkinson.com

The advent of guns meant more distant fighting and a reduction in the amount of armour.

6. Private sentinel, Battle of Malplaquet, 1709

Thom Atkinson / Via thomatkinson.com

7. Private soldier, Battle of Waterloo, 1815

Thom Atkinson / Via thomatkinson.com

As campaigns grew in length, and weapons became more complex, the amount of kit grew.

8. Private soldier, Battle of the Somme, 1916

Thom Atkinson / Via thomatkinson.com

The original project was inspired by the returning of Captain Charles Sorley’s WWI kit bag, containing his possessions. The survey of kits explores the combination of soldiers’ gear further.

9. Lance corporal, parachute brigade, Battle of Arnhem, 1944

Thom Atkinson / Via thomatkinson.com

10. Close-support sapper, Helmand Province, 2014

Thom Atkinson / Via thomatkinson.com

The number of items has become much higher as technological improvements allow for lighter gear.

But there’s still a spoon.

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Luke Bailey is a staff writer for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
 
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