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Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry has tattooed the Victoria Cross on his back (photo). He borrowed his medal from the Imperial War Museum after feeling guilty when he wore it and got the tattoo instead
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A new exhibition that reveals the secret stories behind military tattoos will open next week – with soldiers and women from all over the country showing their ink.

The military heroes including RAF veterans and former Royal Marines are among those who have told their stories and shared how their tattoos remind the people who have left their mark on them.

Many of those included in the exhibition – starting on Friday – pay homage to fallen comrades as part of the tattoos.

Johnson Beharry, 40, British Army Sergeant, received Victoria Cross

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Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry, who received the Victoria Cross, is one of the photos on display at the Tribute Ink Royal British Legion exhibition at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Beharry, 40, received the highest courage award available in 2005 for members of the British Army.

Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry has tattooed the Victoria Cross on his back (photo). He borrowed his medal from the Imperial War Museum after feeling guilty when he wore it and got the tattoo instead

Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry has tattooed the Victoria Cross on his back (photo). He borrowed his medal from the Imperial War Museum after feeling guilty when he wore it and got the tattoo instead

Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry (photo), who was awarded the Victoria Cross, is one of the photos in the exhibition at the Tribute Ink Royal British Legion exhibition

Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry (photo), who was awarded the Victoria Cross, is one of the photos in the exhibition at the Tribute Ink Royal British Legion exhibition

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Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry (photo), who was awarded the Victoria Cross, is one of the photos in the exhibition at the Tribute Ink Royal British Legion exhibition

Beharry was awarded the Victoria Cross after performing two individual heroic acts while serving in Iraq in 2004, saving the lives of his platoon.

On May 1, 2004, he was driving a Warrior Tracked Armored Vehicle that was hit by multiple rocket shells.

His platoon suffered several casualties and while his head was exposed to fire, Beharry drove the warrior through the ambush in safety and still under fire, he picked up his injured comrades.

He needed brain surgery for his injuries and he recovered in March 2005 when he received the Victoria Cross. He is one of only two serving soldiers to receive the honor.

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He told The mirror: & # 39; At that time I just did the work. & # 39;

However, he added that wearing the Victoria Cross reminded him of his deceased friends and made him guilty.

This led him to the decision to give the medal to the Imperial War Museum and to have the statue tattooed on his back instead.

Together with Beharry, others have shared the inspiration and memories behind their tattoos.

Matthew Tomlinson, 52, Ex-Royal Marine, received the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross and Military Cross

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Ex-Royal Marine Matthew Tomlinson, 52, who is one of the highest decorated living Royal Marines, joined when he was only 22 and has served in Congo, Iraq and Afghanistan all over the world.

He received the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross and Military Cross, but still says dealing with the loss of comrades is the most difficult part of the job.

He said: & We all shared blood, sweat and tears together. These guys were my second family and losing a family member is devastating. & # 39;

Matthew, 52, decided on the outline of a Royal Marines bugler on his back in reference to the Last Post and the ten names of fallen Marines with whom he served

Matthew, 52, decided on the outline of a Royal Marines bugler on his back in reference to the Last Post and the ten names of fallen Marines with whom he served

Matthew, 52, decided on the outline of a Royal Marines bugler on his back in reference to the Last Post and the ten names of fallen Marines with whom he served

Ex-Royal Marine Matthew Tomlinson, 52, who is one of the highest-decorated living Royal Marines, joined when he was only 22 and has served all over the world
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Ex-Royal Marine Matthew Tomlinson, 52, who is one of the highest-decorated living Royal Marines, joined when he was only 22 and has served all over the world

Ex-Royal Marine Matthew Tomlinson, 52, who is one of the highest-decorated living Royal Marines, joined when he was only 22 and has served all over the world

After returning from Afghanistan, he decided to have a tattoo made in memory of those he had lost.

He decided on the outline of a Royal Marines bugler on his back in reference to the Last Post and the ten names of fallen Marines with whom he served.

Danielle Cummings, 29, a leading logistics employee at the Royal Netherlands Navy

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Danielle, 29, serves at the HMS St. Albans as a logistics officer who deals with ammunition and supplies and has worked in Afghanistan and Bahrain.

She was away on her 21st birthday in Kandahar and decided to get a tattoo inspired by being away for the important day.

She got a swallow – a sea symbol to remind seamen that, no matter how far they travel, they always come home – and an anchor tattooed on her lower back.

Logistician Danielle, 29, got a swallow - a sea symbol to remind sailors that no matter how far they travel, they will always come home - and an anchor tattooed on her lower back

Logistician Danielle, 29, got a swallow - a sea symbol to remind sailors that no matter how far they travel, they will always come home - and an anchor tattooed on her lower back

Logistician Danielle, 29, got a swallow – a sea symbol to remind sailors that no matter how far they travel, they will always come home – and an anchor tattooed on her lower back

Danielle (photo) serves at HMS St Albans as a logistics employee who deals with ammunition and supplies and has worked in Afghanistan and Bahrain
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Danielle (photo) serves at HMS St Albans as a logistics employee who deals with ammunition and supplies and has worked in Afghanistan and Bahrain

Danielle (photo) serves at HMS St Albans as a logistics employee who deals with ammunition and supplies and has worked in Afghanistan and Bahrain

Danielle also has a quote from President Franklin D Roosevelt with the text & # 39; A smooth sea has never made an experienced sailor & # 39; by her side.

Paul Glazebrook, 35, Ex-Royal Green Jacket in the Army

Paul, 35, joined the army at the age of 16 and after eight years and a tour in Iraq stopped him and his friend Tom Keogh to get jobs in the security sector.

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When Tom's work failed, he returned to the army, but was killed during his service in the Middle East.

Paul, 35, got six names of fallen comrades tattooed on his back with their ID tags and lines from the Fallen poem with the sentence: & # 39; We will remember them & # 39;

Paul, 35, got six names of fallen comrades tattooed on his back with their ID tags and lines from the Fallen poem with the sentence: & # 39; We will remember them & # 39;

Paul, 35, got six names of fallen comrades tattooed on his back with their ID tags and lines from the Fallen poem with the sentence: & # 39; We will remember them & # 39;

Paul said he then & # 39; a bit of a hole & # 39; had entered and moved to the Caribbean after losing his friend and decided to pay a tribute to Tom and five others killed in Iraq.

He had the six names on his back tattooed with their ID tags and lines from the Fallen poem with the sentence: & # 39; We will remember them & # 39 ;.

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Craig Daniell, 29, Senior Aircraftman in the RAF

Craig, 29, joined the RAF at the age of 19 and served as a Senior Aircraftman in Afghanistan in 2011 and 2013.

He was medically discharged in 2016 after an explosion had permanently damaged his hand, but knows that he was one of the lucky ones.

His tattoos include the image of a soldier walking towards a clock symbolizing that his time in the troops was over, a poppy and the name of his friend who was murdered in Afghanistan.

Craig's tattoos include the image of a soldier walking towards a clock symbolizing that his time in the armed forces was over, a poppy and the name of his friend who was murdered in Afghanistan

Craig's tattoos include the image of a soldier walking towards a clock symbolizing that his time in the armed forces was over, a poppy and the name of his friend who was murdered in Afghanistan

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Craig's tattoos include the image of a soldier walking towards a clock symbolizing that his time in the armed forces was over, a poppy and the name of his friend who was murdered in Afghanistan

On his leg he has the symbol for post-traumatic stress disorder with which he was diagnosed.

He said he had no time to handle the loss of his comrades, and when he stopped after his injury, he had time to think about it, causing his & # 39; brain to become overloaded & # 39 ;.

Tribute Ink will be launched on Friday at The National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Burton-on-Trent. Admission is free and open to the general public.

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