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old-ted

West Riding Regiment

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old-ted

Hello to all. I picked up some buttons over the week-end, they are The Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment. That's as much as I know. Can anyone tell me, are they WW1 period, are they uniform buttons or did they have some other function? Sorry the scan is not great but it's the best I could do. The scan shows 1 button uncleaned, 1 button cleaned (not to parade standard) and the reverse of another button.

Any help would be appreciated.

Regards

John

post-28333-1220458497.jpg

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auchonvillerssomme

Hollow backed likely to be mess waiters or blazer buttons. what size are they?

Mick

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Rob B

Mick, I agree they look like mess kit or blazer cuff buttons

Rob

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old-ted
Hollow backed likely to be mess waiters or blazer buttons. what size are they?

Mick

Mick/Rob, they are 25mm or 1" across in old money. Mainly a silver colour with the regimental badge a copper colour. Any idea of the period and would they be officers? By the way, I bought them at a boot sale in Albert. There are 9 of them.

Regards

John

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FROGSMILE
Hello to all. I picked up some buttons over the week-end, they are The Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment. That's as much as I know. Can anyone tell me, are they WW1 period, are they uniform buttons or did they have some other function? Sorry the scan is not great but it's the best I could do. The scan shows 1 button uncleaned, 1 button cleaned (not to parade standard) and the reverse of another button.

Any help would be appreciated.

Regards

John

I have seen this style of button before, many times. They are from the Officers' Mess Livery of the Duke of Wellington's (West Riding) Regiment (33rd and 77th Foot I think). It was popular in late Victorian times to kit the Mess Waiters (who were soldiers seconded from their companies) out in Tail Coats and these were purchased by the regiment with buttons generally well made and often in good quality silver. I found a complete set of my own regiments in the Mess basement in the early 1980s. The Tail Coats were double breasted in black melton and usually had 6 buttons on the front and 3 on each cuff.

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Rob B

I am always amazed at what appears in mess cupboards and basements, my regimental cuff and mess kit buttons were same style hollow backs as this, and with the gilt on them they do smack of officers mess, so tail coats would fit nicely.

Rob

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old-ted

Great stuff guy's. I have 9 so it would appear I'm 3 short of a set. I just wonder how they would have got to the Somme. If they were common in late Victorian times would they have still been in use during the Great War?

Any further information would be a bonus. By the way, I think I got bargain for 3€.

Regards & thanks.

John

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Staffsyeoman

Just another spoke to throw into the mix (wow, confused - rather than mixed- metaphor). Whilst I'm in no way disputing m'learned friends assertions that these are mess staff jacket buttons, and have great sympathy for that view (not having seen a mess waiter of the Duke of Boots), I have a niggle in the back of the mind. The DWR's regimental button was an elephant, with Duke of Wellington's/West Riding Regiment above and below respectively.

With the current fad for military-style ladies' jackets, there have also been reproduction buttons. They're impossible to quantify, but most of the ones I've encountered have been like this; hollow back, single shank, silvered (as opposed to gilt), very light weight. I've found Royal Army Ordnance Corps, Royal West Kent, Royal Army Pay Corps (!) Royal Engineers (cap badge style), General Service Corps (well, Royal Arms) and even the South Staffordshire Regiment. I've a sneaky suspicion they could be relatively recent fashion items, but without handling them - hard to tell!

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old-ted

Just had one on the kitchen scales. 7 grammes or 25 oz. No idea if anyone would have a genuine one to compare with. But knowing you guy's someone will.

Regards

John

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FROGSMILE
Just another spoke to throw into the mix (wow, confused - rather than mixed- metaphor). Whilst I'm in no way disputing m'learned friends assertions that these are mess staff jacket buttons, and have great sympathy for that view (not having seen a mess waiter of the Duke of Boots), I have a niggle in the back of the mind. The DWR's regimental button was an elephant, with Duke of Wellington's/West Riding Regiment above and below respectively.

With the current fad for military-style ladies' jackets, there have also been reproduction buttons. They're impossible to quantify, but most of the ones I've encountered have been like this; hollow back, single shank, silvered (as opposed to gilt), very light weight. I've found Royal Army Ordnance Corps, Royal West Kent, Royal Army Pay Corps (!) Royal Engineers (cap badge style), General Service Corps (well, Royal Arms) and even the South Staffordshire Regiment. I've a sneaky suspicion they could be relatively recent fashion items, but without handling them - hard to tell!

The buttons for Mess Waiters did not necessarily follow the standard regimental pattern. There was a feeling in some regiments that they should not be confused with 'official' issue buttons. They were after all a private purchase (along with the Tail Coats) by the officers. The first set I ever saw were for the RWF and bore no relation to the regimental buttons, they were instead a Red Dragon rampant with RWF under in Block Script (not Olde English Gothic as was often later used).

Looking at the apparent quality of the buttons shown and without being able to handle them, the quality 'looks' to me to be communsurate with Mess 'Livery' (the official sobriquet) buttons.

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FROGSMILE
Great stuff guy's. I have 9 so it would appear I'm 3 short of a set. I just wonder how they would have got to the Somme. If they were common in late Victorian times would they have still been in use during the Great War?

Any further information would be a bonus. By the way, I think I got bargain for 3€.

Regards & thanks.

John

Certainly the regimental depot Mess would have had them at that time.

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old-ted

Frogsmile, thanks for your contributions. As you mention "privately purchased" where would such items be sourced? It appears that Oficers were well catered for by private tailors so would "the mess" contribute to these tailcoats and other items of dress for the waiting staff? Any photo's?

John

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FROGSMILE
Frogsmile, thanks for your contributions. As you mention "privately purchased" where would such items be sourced? It appears that Oficers were well catered for by private tailors so would "the mess" contribute to these tailcoats and other items of dress for the waiting staff? Any photo's?

John

Each regiment had/has its own tailor approved by the Regimental Colonel (and the dress committee over which he presided). Mess livery was invariably made up by these tailors with buttons produced by one of the 'button makers' of London and Birmingham (such as Firmin). I have seen photos (and real tail coats, moth eaten, damp and sadly beyond use in such a different age) but they are rare because the Tail Coat was usually only worn for 'Regimental Guest Nights' when the best show possible was put on in order to impress and photographers were not generally present at such private functions. On other more routine occasions Mess Servants (the official title at that time) wore shirts and waistcoats.

A collection of such buttons would be extremely valuable as the buttons were made in small numbers and only used for a relatively short period so they have a scarcity as well as intrinsic value.

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auchonvillerssomme

If the shank extends above the base of the button it was to take a split ring fastening, they would go through sewn holes in the mess waiters tunic so that the buttons could be removed for the tunic to be laundered. They appear to be only lightly silvered so I would suggest not an officers button, which would probably be either solid silver or certainly thickly plated. The collectable ones are those numbered to Regt's.

Mick

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old-ted

Thanks Mick. The shanks do extend beyond the base of the button and I had assumed that they would have had a pin or ring to hold them in place. There are no makers or regiment numbers or marks on them. I have searched the web for a photo of the livery but have not found one yet. Can anyone suggest a web site where similar buttons or livery can be viewed?

Regards

John

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auchonvillerssomme

I've never seen such a site, Ripley has a few mess buttons in his book. I won't have access to my collection for a couple of weeks so I will see if I have any comparisons. The problem is that these buttons were privately made and there is no difinitive list. The older ones were generally flat silver plate and very attractive, worthy of collecting in their own right. I'm ashamed to say I haven't looked at my collection for years, at one time I had every numbered regiment plus most mess and ancillary buttons and every variation of regiment and corps since 1881. Stupidly I sold the majority of the numbered ones, admittedly for a huge amount but I do regret it.

Mick

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FROGSMILE
If the shank extends above the base of the button it was to take a split ring fastening, they would go through sewn holes in the mess waiters tunic so that the buttons could be removed for the tunic to be laundered. They appear to be only lightly silvered so I would suggest not an officers button, which would probably be either solid silver or certainly thickly plated. The collectable ones are those numbered to Regt's.

Mick

The buttons on the RWF Tail Coats (that I handled and was able to liberate) were sewn on so although I agree that many would have been secured by split pins it must not be assumed that all were. They were concave and either of very heavy quality silver plate or solid silver, as they were not one bit tarnished or worn so that any base metal showed through. The quality was superb considering they must have been over 70 years old and hung up in a damp store room in the basement of the Mess. I doubt they had seen the light of day for some years. Quite sad really.

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old-ted

Frogsmile, I agree with your sentiments, such a shame that so few of these mess livery tail coats have survived.

Mick, me too.There are so many interesting bits that I have swapped or sold over the years but, you can't keep 'em all mate.

Any photos of other interesting or rare buttons out there?

John

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FROGSMILE
Frogsmile, I agree with your sentiments, such a shame that so few of these mess livery tail coats have survived.

Mick, me too.There are so many interesting bits that I have swapped or sold over the years but, you can't keep 'em all mate.

Any photos of other interesting or rare buttons out there?

John

Just a final point, the only part of the Army that I know still has Mess Livery is the Royal Artillery. Every year they have the Captain General's (Sovereign's) Dinner night (hitherto and for several hundred years at Woolwich, but now that this philistine government have moved the RA out of there, it is at Larkhill) at which occasion Mess Livery is worn. However, the style is not Victorian but Regency and so I am not sure if there are regimental buttons. I also do not know if the Household Division (Foot and Horse Guards) still have Mess Livery but would not be surprised if they did.

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old-ted

Thanks to everyone who contributed for there views and opinions. It has highlighted to me the great traditions of the regimental officers mess (not to mention the mess bills). I suppose that the merging of local regments ( DLI, YLI etc) into the Light Infantry and other similar changes has taken away many of the traditions once held dear. The lads serving now may never understand some of the pomp and circumstance of past days but should always be appreciated and respected for the job they are doing. .... Well done lads!

Keep the candle burning!

John

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burytilidie1968

I have 74 of the 25mm & 152 of the smaller buttons if anyone is after them. Picked these up about 15 yrs ago in halifax 

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