Army Warrant Officer Alex Barnes builds his own armour while on deployment
12 May 2016
It's extremely rare for an Australian Army Soldier to deploy on operations with their own personal set of armour.
However, this was exactly what Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) Alex Barnes did when he recently deployed to the Middle East region.
Although Alex's amour isn't exactly something you would wear on a modern battlefield, think more medieval combat.
"It's called riveted chain mail and it's taken me nine years to get it to this point," WO2 Bates said.
"I began building it during a deployment to Iraq in 2007, after buying the tools from a fellow enthusiast I met in Belgium."
W02 Barnes recently spent 2 months working as the Finance Officer at Task Group Afghanistan in Kabul and as the Cash Office Operator at Camp Baird. In his spare time WO2 Barnes enjoys making his own clothing, armour and camping equipment and is the President of the Australasian Living History Federation.
"I've been doing this for 18 years, as I've always had an interest in history," he said.
"It expanded from reading about knights and castles into experimenting with what I could do now using modern material and techniques.
"I build my own camping equipment, tents, shields, knives and make clothes for myself and my family and I build my own armour."
The chain mail process has WO2 Barnes painstakingly cutting wire he's coiled himself.
"Before I deployed I heated the wire to soften it, on deployment I flattened it with a hammer and punched a hole through the overlap," he said.
"In the hole I set a rivet and then interlink it with others to make the construct the armour.
"The suit has 12,000 links in it and I'm only half way."
His goal is to wear the suit during living historical re-enactments.
WO2 Barnes interest in history isn’t confined to the medieval period, his passion as ignited after he and his family travelled to Belgium last year to the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo.
"I participated in battle re-enactments as a Corporal in the British 95th Rifles, we lived in authentic tents on one of the farms on the battlefield.
"I was one of 5,000 participants at the event; it was a very surreal experience battling it out while 50,000 spectators watched on.
"It was a great experience, I made many new friends and learnt what other re-enactment groups do."
To get involved with living history re-enactments visit the Australasian Living History Federation website.