Every weekend, thousands of British hobbyists converge in empty fields to dig trenches, erect tents, gas up tanks, and stage battles from Normandy to North Africa. These are Britain’s Sunday Soldiers. World War II is an inextricable part of this country’s collective consciousness, and the act of reenactment is deeply personal.
So many Brits have a family legacy that connects them directly to the war. Many wear uniforms or personal effects that belonged to their fathers or grandfathers. Others reenact specific veterans with whom they’ve corresponded. While it is a hobby for most, it’s an all-consuming one. Summer weekends are devoted to loading up trailers and trucks with huge amounts of gear and stepping into the past.
Most of all, WWII re-enactors are looking to commemorate the deadliest war in human history. These exhibitions, designed to educate, are a testament to enduring collective memory, to Britain’s greatest generation, and to some of the most ambitious military operations in history.
In keeping with the re-enactors’ ethos, these photos were produced with a period twin-lens reflex camera. With it, I’ve attempted to pay respect to the war, its veterans, and those who enable its memory to live on.