WW1 Soldiers Boxing Postcard

Boxing has long been a popular sport for soldiers, the pugilistic qualities it encouraged being seen as useful in real warfare as well as the ring. A 1945 pamphlet expounded on this idea: 

There is a close similarity between the tactics used in boxing and those used in warfare, and this should be emphasized during training. The “on guard” position, like the attitude of the unit in the fighting zone, should be one of watchful readiness, prepared for immediate attack or defence. Movement or footwork must be purposeful. The utmost use should be made of the terrain (or ring) to tire out the opponent ands manoeuvre him into a disadvantageous position. The left and right fists are the advanced guard and the main body respectively, and they fulfil similar purposes- the left to break the opponents defence, to expose weak spots and to pin him down, the right to exploit any advantages and to deliver the knock-out blow. 

A generation before this was written, the same principles applied and this week’s postcard is of an impromptu spar between two soldiers at camp: 

One of the men wears his shirt and trousers with just his jacket removed and gloves donned: 

His opponent is a little more appropriately attired with shorts and vest and sports pumps on his feet: 

Behind our two boxers can be seen several other men in sports kit and one soldier in uniform with a towel around his neck, fulfilling the role of the trainer: 

Whether these men are just messing about for the camera, or practising for a competition is unclear, but all seem to be enjoying this change from more regular army work.

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