Whilst serving, there may be moments of hardship and loss, but also times of happiness and pride.
Many military tattoos commemorate these events and remember meaningful moments in the wearer’s life.
These moments may be specific events, such as completing training or being awarded a medal, or periods of time that had a significant impact on them. Tattoos pay tribute to these events, moments and times, commemorating the highs and the lows of military life.
Sergeant Johnson Beharry
Sergeant Johnson Beharry was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry given to members of the British military, for extreme heroism in 2004. He loaned his medal to the Imperial War Museum but had the image of it tattooed on his back so he could always carry it with him.
When Dani Cummings found herself in Afghanistan on her 21st birthday, she designed her swallow and anchor tattoo to symbolise how far she’d come and remind her of a family waiting at home, anchoring her safe from rocky shores.
Dan Arnold’s tattoos document the good and the bad on his journey from soldier to PTSD survivor. His first tattoo is the one he finds most meaningful today - a tiger on his arm to represent his regiment.
The images and symbols in these tattoos vary as much as the stories they tell.
Symbols such as medals, dates and illustrations depicting an event may have a clear significance while others have discrete and personal meanings.