WW1 British West Indies Tabletop Puppet

Puppet holding Lee Enfield rifle

Profile shot of puppet wearing British Brodie helmet

Detail of dress tunic & webbing

Back view with Dress Service Cap

Detail of puppet wearing British Brodie helmet

Detail of shoulder lapel & webbing

Detail of back of head & cap

This 22" tall tabletop puppet was commissioned by Hackney Music Development Trust for their 2014 production Trench Brothers, which toured primary schools in North London and commemorated the achievements and contributions made by ethnic minority forces during WW1.  The uniform is that of a British Infantryman soldier on the first day of the Somme Offensive and was designed & made with an emphasis on historical accuracy. The puppet has an interchangeable Service Dress Cap and British Brodie helmet and is holding a Lee Enfield rifle.  These accessories are held in place by magnets embedded in the head and hands.


The military webbing is made of calico, which was dyed to the correct shade of yellow and the metallic fastnenings were hand-made from a mixture of wire, milliput and San Miguel beer cans.


The uniform itself is made from military serge, sourced from The History Bunker, which uses the same fabric to manufacture life-size uniforms for military reenactments.


The rifle was constructed from a wooden bed slat with embedded magnets, a faux leather strap and additional details added with a combination of piano wire, milliput and cable ties before it was painted.


© Catherine Thomas 2014