As shells rained down on No Man’s Land and poisonous gas swirled into the trenches, a company of British soldiers stood firm. They were the timber Tommies of the First World War and they proved a vital tool in the battle to keep the Germans guessing.

The wooden cut-outs made to resemble live soldiers on the move were positioned above the trenches to trick the enemy into concentrating their defences in one area, or provoking them to open fire while an attack was launched from another direction.

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