World War One Shrapnel

We have World War One shrapnel in our History of Medicine Collection.

Shrapnel consisted of a hollow shell which was packed internally with small steel balls or lead, together with an amount of gunpowder. It was the most common form of artillery used in 1914.

It was designed to cause maximum casualties with minimal effort. The wide use of shrapnel as a weapon meant that the light cloth caps worn by infantrymen in 1914 were replaced by steel helmets which brought more protection.

Listen to Dr Emily Mayhew, military medical historian at Imperial College London, talking about our object here: