10th December 2021

Rifle Brigades

According to Graham Maddocks in his book ‘Liverpool Pals” from 1991; rifle brigades were originally raised for forest fighting during the American War of Independence (1775-1783), as muskets were not practical. Dark green uniforms with blackened buttons were adopted to camouflage the soldiers amongst the trees, and bugles were used to relay commands, as ordinary commands could not be seen or heard.

Therefore, many rifle regiments have used the symbol of the ‘slung bugle’ as an emblem on their uniform badges and buttons. The two buttons below were sourced from New Zealand, so would have belonged to the New Zealand Rifle Brigade (The Earl of Liverpool’s Own, a.k.a ‘the Dinks’), formed early in 1915 to add to the countries’ war time efforts, and disbanded in February 1919. Both are blacked brass.

Backmark: ‘Special Quality”

Stokes & Sons Melb








When stocks of buttons for the brigade were not available (these had the letters RB between the horn and the ropes) British Rifle Brigade buttons were worn. The Stokes & Sons button was also used by the Victorian Rifles, 1901-3, so would not have required a new die.

From Auckland Museum: 1/4 portrait of Sergeant G N Hill of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade.

For more about New Zealand accroutrements:


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