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What’s In A Tattoo & Why Do They Matter To The Military? – Forces Network

Posted in Tattoo Designs on Aug 05, 2017

Military tattoos have a long and colourful history.

The idea of tattooing allegedly entered British popular culture because of the Navy, who discovered the art on their worldwide travels.

Captain Cook brought back drawings of Polynesian Islander’s inked skin, known in Samoan as tatau and believed it to ward off evil spirits.

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, tattooing was primarily associated with sailors, and its military associations remain strong to this day – the US Armys website states that around 90% of its members sport some sort of ink.

Although figures for the percentage of tattooed UK service members are unavailable, the British Armys lift on their ban on visible tattoos says a lot about their popularity.

Some of the most common military tattoo designs are the corps or regimental insignia, dagger designs, the traditional naval anchor, squadron crest tattoos, and military crosses.

We spoke to Plymouth based tattoo artist Neil Pengilley to find out what made military tattoos unique:

“The Army and Royal Marine commandos tend to get the dagger just after they pass out, as a sort of celebration.

“When they’ve been in for a few years they might get the globe and laurel. You get a lot of retired military who get things like clouds and angels, as a way of remembering friends who’ve passed on.

“They definitely inspire each-other. Obviously they’re trained to think as one, so if one of them gets a certain type of tattoo, a lot of them will follow.One guy recently came in and got a St Michael, and then a lot of the others followed and got the same. You can definitely tell a Royal Marine by his tattoos and the banter they come out with.”

More here:
What’s In A Tattoo & Why Do They Matter To The Military? – Forces Network

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