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Old 20-03-17, 07:41 AM
janner305 janner305 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bedfordshire
Posts: 37
Default Officers' Mess Waiters' Buttons

Hi all,

Could anyone of you learned collectors tell me if there is ANY reference material to be had on the buttons worn by Officers Mess Staff, usually described as Officers' Mess Waiters.
I have collected some 60 of these buttons over the years, some of them absolute jewels of design, but find them extremely difficult to categorize.
Some buttons clearly depict a design that can be linked to their parent Regiment, but others bear the old pre 1881 numbers.
I tend to use this to identify them as 1st or 2nd Battalion of the post-1881 Regiment in accordance with the Army reforms of that year.
What is even more confusing is that some buttons depict a QVC?

Does anyone know when Officers' Mess Waiters' buttons started to be used?

Does anyone else collect these buttons and if so, could an exchange of pictorial information be instigated for the benefit of all?


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Old 20-03-17, 09:20 AM
Cribyn's Avatar
Cribyn Cribyn is offline
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Carmarthenshire, Wales
Posts: 1,632

Hello Janner

I have been collecting officer's mess waiter's buttons since the 1970s and unfortunately find that they are now becoming much more sought after with consequent price increases!

I know that there are several Forum members who collect them as well and obviously I suspect that those who collect to a specific regiment will also be interested in these buttons.

Mess waiter's buttons have been around for a long time, since about 1835 according to the introduction in Howard Ripley's original button book.

As you say, references are hard to come by and the only ones I know of are -

i. one page in Howard Ripley's original book on "Buttons of the British Army 1855-1970";

ii. a recent series of colour articles in "Button Lines", the Journal of the British Button Society;

iii. the odd illustration/short article in older issues of Button Lines and the Journal of the Military Historical Society;

iv. some illustrations in Gwen Squire's book "Buttons A Guide For Collectors" - but in my view she wrongly describes some officer's mess waiter's buttons as just "officers"; and

v. various specialist books on specific regiments and their badges sometimes cover these buttons.

I would be interested to see if any other member has a further list of references.


PS Should have mentioned auction catalogues. Mess waiter's buttons do turn up in these from time to time but it's not always easy to see or identify them. One exception is Bosleys' military button postal auction catalogue of 15 Feb 2006, there are a few clear illustrations of identified mess waiter's button there.

Last edited by Cribyn; 20-03-17 at 10:32 AM. Reason: PS Added
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