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Black Button


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I have a studio portrait of two men of the Bedfordshire Rgt. They both have a button (one from top) covered in what appears to be black cloth. I am aware that the conclusion of research points to this practice being adopted as a mark of mourning for a family member (this was discussed at length in "Stand To!" some years ago). Has anyone ever found conclusive proof of this and was it officially sanctioned? The picture I have, shows early new recruits (ill fitting economy jackets, 1914 leather equipment, tailored collars).

was this only practiced early in the war, or did it continue?

John.

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I have never seen any official sanction of this practice, but it does seem a very common practice. I have several portraits of men with black buttons dated in 1918/19.

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Whilst it has not been officially sanctioned to my knowledge, I have four such named photographs of men wearing black buttons and all have brothers who were killed on active service, it seems to be allowed as a local arrangement within certain regiments or corps, I have one that is definately a Bedford (4th Btn) who's brother was killed with the Hertford's so as a unit they did permit mourning buttons, as any ex soldier will agree the alternative theory put forward that they are tarnished buttons from wearing bandoliers just does'nt make sense, I don't think my Sgt Major would have allowed it!.

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Clive.

As you say the tarnished theory is not really sensible. In the picture I have it is obvious that the button is covered in cloth rather than just discoloured.

Forever interested in the Bedford's, what is the name of your soldier?

John.

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Thanks to all for your replies.

Thanks Joe for the picture, I have been collecting for some years but never seen an example of these buttons.

John

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