Richard Marshall is studying for a doctorate in the literature of ancient Rome at Wadham College, Oxford, and is a tutor for Ancient History at St Benet’s Hall. In addition to Classics, he has a long-standing interest in the tactics and material culture of the British Army, especially of the period spanned by the Cardwell Reforms and First World War. He has a large collection of original uniform and equipment items used for teaching and research purposes, and is currently exploring the evolution of British military clothing and accoutrements in response to changes in fashion and warfare for eventual publication. He previously worked as a cataloguer for the Oxford University Great War Archive.
If uniforms enforce standardisation, a sense of corporate identity, insignia provides a counter-stimulus towards individuation. Military insignia of the major combatants prior to the Great War can broadly be separated between rank, unit, and ‘proficiency’. The first and second had … Continue reading
Prior to 1916, there were no restrictions on the possession and use of cocaine, opium and other psychoactive drugs in Britain; the Poisons and Pharmacy Act of 1908 stipulated only that pharmacists had to have been introduced to prospective buyers … Continue reading
The First World War was not only fought knee-deep in the mud filled trenches of the Western Front. It was a global event and military engagements took place in many different countries and in many different terrains, leading to very … Continue reading
There were well over a hundred and fifty men waiting for opening time, singing Mademoiselle from Armentiéres and other lusty songs. Right on the dot of 6 PM a red lamp over the doorway of the brothel was switched on. … Continue reading