Rifle Volunteer Buttons 1859-1908, by Howard Ripley and Denis Darmanin
Published by the Military Historical Society in 2007, 84 pages. A5 size booklet (N6455)
Illustrated throughout with around 25 pages of black and white drawings of buttons and their designs (each page with around 15 individual buttons drawn), this booklet provides a fascinating account of English Rifle Volunteer buttons.
From the introduction:
Calls for the establishment of a volunteer force were heard during the 1840s and 1850s but they were met with opposition from many politicians and senior Army officers. Commissions had been granted in January 1853 to officers in the Exeter and South Devon Rifle Corps and the Victoria Volunteer Rifle Corps but it was not until 1858-59 that fears of war with France led to renewed calls for the formation of volunteer corps.
In response to public pressure, General Peel, the Secretary of State for War, wrote on 12th May 1859 to lords lieutenant authorising the formation of volunteer rifle corps and artillery corps in maritime towns under the Yeomanry and Volunteer Consolidation Act of 1804. There was to be no financial support from the Government and corps were to provide their own uniforms, equipment and arms.
Companies were to comprise of between 60 and 100 all ranks (including 1 captain, 1 lieutenant and 1 ensign) while sub-divisions were permitted for between 30 and 59 all ranks (including 1 lieutenant and 1 ensign). There was feverish activity on setting up corps throughout 1859 but official recognition followed more slowly. The Army List for January 1860 listed only 180 companies or larger corps and 23 sub-divisions. Of these, 21 had not yet had any officers gazetted. 1860 saw the formation of nearly 600 more units. This tremendous growth in the volunteer movement was recognised in a War Office circular dated 24th March 1860 which authorised consolidated battalions for towns and administrative battalions in rural areas. Field officers and adjutants were permitted for these battalions....
Condition of the booklet is generally good. The cover has some minor scuffs and blemishes, and some light wear along the edges and corners, but the staple spine is intact, and all pages are intact, unblemished and tightly bound.