19th April 2021

Now for some random jottings …

In 1907 there was a fashion for large accessories …

Sunday Times (Sydney), 23rd July 1907 page 10.

Regimental buttons were still being recommended for use as hat pins in 1915. As late as 1949 ornamental buttons were suggested for use as hatpins.


During the Boer War buttons were useful …

The Maitland Mercury (NSW), 17th December 1901 page 5.

“Tommy Atkins”, or just “Tommy” was a common nickname for British soldiers in the 19th- early 20th century.


A Mystery Button

Who or what was a H.I. Attendant?

17th April 2021

Another Colonial examples courtesy of Colin Hornslaw

Perth Mounted Rifle Volunteers

According to Cossum: 1894-1897.

The W.A. Record (Perth), 17th May 1894 page 9.

This troop failed quickly. In January 1895 the corps strength was 44 men, but by the end of the year it had fallen to just 24. It was reported in September 1896 that the Perth Mounted Rifles had “ceased to exist”. By 30th June 1897 they were formerly disbanded. Perhaps the lack of weapons was a problem despite their “tasty” uniforms!

The Daily News (Perth), 26th January 1895 page 1.

Evening News (Sydney), 9th January 1896 page 5.

There was a proposal to re-raise the corps in October 1899, but possibly the events in the Transvaal (Boer War) overtook this concern, with many men joining the 1st Western Australian Mounted Infantry in November 1899.

16th April 2021

Colonial examples, courtesy of Colin Hornslaw

Queensland Volunteers

1897-1901 and 1902-1903

The crown used on button on the left is Prince Albert’s Crown, the Guelphic Crown of the Dukes of the House of Hanover. The other button has the Tudor Crown used by Kings Edwards VII, George V and George VI from 1902 until 1953. The seperate Colonial forces were merged after Federation but existed up to 1911 in the State of Queensland. After 1903 a button with Edward VII cypher replaced this one.

It was on the advise of Colonel French in 1884 that standard new uniforms in khaki were introduced with new buttons  struck bearing the word ‘Queensland’ . “The Royal artillery buttons can be used for the batteries here, but in the event of the Imperial Authorities not having general service buttons (VR under a crown) it will be necessary to have a die made and buttons struck off for the other corps.” However, Imperial designs and colours, particularily for dress uniforms, weren’t phased out until the 1890s, and in the case of the artillery, until 1911.

In 1885 a small permanent force was raised as well as part time militia, to improve upon the (up til then) entirely volunteer system.

See  http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/18th-october-2020/


Tasmanian Rifle Volunteers

In 1878 new volunteer forces were raised after a period of decline in the colony that had left only Launceston Artillery Corps functioning. However, once again the volunteer forces dwindled until a new Commandant arrived from England in 1883, and Tasmanian Defence Forces were raised in 1885.  The new uniforms and buttons did not arrive until 1889!

See  http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/defence-forces-uniform-buttons/pre-federation/#Tasmania



15th April 2021

Some hints on dating Stokes buttons.

Please note that this firm was quite variable, perhaps even inconsistent, in the backmarking of their buttons. This list may not be complete. For the various company titles; either no place name, or ‘Melbourne’, or ‘Melb’ was used. Later on some had ‘Victoria’, ‘Vic’ or ‘Australia’. A few have ‘Sydney’ or ‘P.O.P. Melb’. 

While “& Sons” must date before 1962, on small buttons this was left off due to lack of room even before that date. As I said, inconsistent! You may need to look for other clues such as Royal cyphers and crowns, and the dating of companies and departments depicted.

For more details, see the Stokes & Sons page.

 1854-1867: Stokes Maker,  T. Stokes

1867-1893: Stokes & Martin, Stokes & Martin Maker

?1893: Stokes Maker, Stokes & Son (unconfirmed)

1888-1935: Stokes & Sons P.O.P. Melb (for Post Office Place)

1900-1915: Stokes & Sons Sydney

c1893-1962: Stokes & Sons

1962-2013: Stokes(A’asia) Ltd, Stokes

Note that anodised aluminum buttons (Staybrite) were produced by Stokes from 1952 according to an article written in 1956. The button below therefore can be dated quite closely.

Stokes & Sons Melbourne.

This button is of rose-gold anodised aluminium. That dates it to 1953.  In June that year Elizabeth II was crowned Monarch, and soon after requested that the Tudor crown (as used by her father) be replaced by the St Edward’s crown. This button was therefore out of date almost as soon as it was made, although there was a period of transition were the old crown was used.

See  http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/8th-january-2021/

These 3 sizes of RAAF buttons all have the St Edward’s Crown, are Staybrite type and say Stokes Melb. Therefore they are definitely post 1953 and probably post 1962. The similar buttons below says Stokes & Sons Melb, so date between 1953-1962.

Artillery, Ordnance and Signals.





14th April 2021

VR Buttons

Backmarks: Treble Gilt, Stokes Vic, Lincoln Stuart & Co Melbourne.

For more examples and information, see:




The small gilt button was made, and possibly used, in Britain, as “Treble Gilt” is one of the generic backmarks used by manufacturers there to imply a quality product. It has the angular St Edward’s crown as used during Queen Victoria’s reign. The Silver Stokes button also has the St Edward’s crown, but with the rounder top as used since Elizabeth II became Monarch. It also has the two holes in the back plate that seems to date from around 1953 when Stokes acquired new equipment capable of making anodised aluminum buttons. The Lincoln Stuart button sports a Tudor crown as used by Kings Edward VII, George V and George VI.

So remember: on all buttons sporting a ‘VR’ is this is not always a cypher for ‘Victoria Regina’. Outside of her reign it stands for Victoria Railways. During her reign it could be a railways or other government uniform button.


13th April 2021

Player’s Cigarette cards: ‘Military Uniforms of the British Empire Overseas”

These three date after march 1936, as the strength of the New Zealand Forces is given for that date. All three cards make mention of ‘The Great War”.


Beutron buckle: late 1960s-early 1970s


11th April 2021

Uniform Buttons

Hindmarsh Regiment, 43rd/48th Infantry Battalion

Stokes & Sons Melb

This infantry unit was raised for service during WW1.

Chronicle (Adelaide), 20th February 1930 page 49.

It was disbanded, re-raised, then merged in 1930 with the 48th Battalion. When territorial designations were introduced in 1927, the battalion adopted the title of the “Hindmarsh Regiment”. It was briefly re-raised during WW2, disbanded, re-re-raised, re-merged with the 48th until absorbed in 1960 into the Royal South Australian Regiment.


Hume Regiment, 59th Infantry Battalion

Stokes & Sons Melb

This is another unit raised for service in WW1 then disbanded, only to be re-raised. The territorial title of the ‘Hume regiment’ was adopted in 1938. In 1942 it was merged with the 58th Battalion. Thus merged, they served in Bougainville and New Guinea .

The Australasian (Melbourne), 22nd March 1941 page 32. Troops in training after the outbreak of war.

The 59th was re-raised in 1952 and absorbed into the Royal Victorian Regiment in 1960.

Shepparton Adviser (Vic), 17th February 1953 page 1.


10th April 2021

Uniform Buttons

Illawarra Regiment, 34th Infantry Battalion

Stokes & Sons Melb

This is another unit raised during WW1, disbanded, reformed, merged, disbanded then reformed again before being amalgamated into the Royal NSW Regiment in 1960. In 1927, when territorial designations were introduced, the battalion adopted the title of the “Illawarra Regiment”.

Illawarra Daily mercury (Wollongong), 3rd July 1954 page 13. Drummers of the Ilawarra Regimental band.


Royal Australian Army Pay Corps

Stokes Melb








This Corps provides pay and financial services to the army. They served overseas in both World Wars. The Royal title was granted in 1948.

Observer(Adelaide), 18th March 1916 page 24.