World War One: 'King of tattoos' inked thousands of soldiers

World War One: ‘King of tattoos’ inked thousands of soldiers

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World War One: 'King of tattoos' inked thousands of soldiers

World War One: ‘King of tattoos’ inked thousands of soldiers

George Burchett’s tattoo shop George Burchett moved his tattoo shop to near Waterloo Station to boost trade

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For many World War One soldiers there was one thing that both helped them bond with comrades and remember their families – the tattoo. And, it was one London cobbler who would soon ditch boots for ink they called on.

Regimental crests, portraits of loved ones and the lions of England.

They are just some of the images that were inked onto the arms, torsos and legs of soldiers by George Burchett in his Waterloo studio, as they headed off to the frontline in World War One.

"The reason why soldiers want tattoos is, on a really basic level, it’s the fighter instinct, it’s the warrior within us and warriors have always decorated themselves, explains world-renowned tattooist," says Dan Gold, who took inspiration from Mr Burchett and has inked a whole host of celebrities and soldiers.

Continue reading the main story World War One At Home

BBC Local Radio stories of a local conflict"To get tattooed is almost like putting on armour; you feel stronger once you’ve got it."’Proud as Punch’Mr Burchett was something of a self-styled superstar tattooist and he had some unusual commissions along the way.One man wanted a portrait of King George V put on his bald head, and he also put a shamrock and thistle on the arm of a nine-year-old girl at the request of her father who was heading to the frontline."Without a flicker that child put her little arms on the table, and never even winced," Mr Burchett once recalled."Proud as Punch she was when it was all over, because ‘Daddy wanted it done’."Born in 1872 in Brighton, Mr Burchett joined the Navy when he was 16. Solider with tattoos Soldiers from all over the world, including this French soldier, got tattoos to represent their countryThis role saw […]