Dalton Barton World War II Letter

The Wyedean Weaving Company established itself in Haworth in 1964 as a manufacturer of narrow fabrics, braid and uniform accoutrement. The business originated in Coventry around 1850 and was previously known as Dalton, Barton and Co Ltd. During WWII, the main factory in Coventry was completely destroyed during the Blitz in 1941. The company’s East End London warehouse and store in Jewin Street London were also later destroyed. For this reason the company possesses no artefacts or records dating from before the Blitz, nor evidence of this difficult time in the Company’s history…that is until recently when the letter shown below came to light from one of Dalton Barton’s war-time customers. Gary Smith is the current owner of fourth-generation upholsterers JE Smith and Son, and he tracked Wyedean down when he found the letter from Dalton, Barton hidden away in the company’s workshop. Gary’s grandfather purchased webbing from Dalton, Barton during the war and his company manufactured sewing bags for gas masks. JE Smith and Son is approaching its 100th year in business and these days focuses on high quality upholstery work. The company recently helped manufacture a bespoke chair called the Windsor Castle chair designed by Shaun Brownell from RhubarbLondon. The chair imitates the scarlet woollen ceremonial uniform of the Irish Guards and is replete with detailed buttons, buckles and accoutrement, which coincidently Wyedean manufactures and supplies to all the Guard’s regiments. To view Wyedean’s range of ceremonial regalia and accoutrement items click here.

2021-03-30T16:00:01+01:0017 August 2017|

Cocked Hats

A bicorne, or cocked hat, is a two-cornered cocked hat which was worn during the 18th and 19th centuries and was adopted from the European and American military and naval officers. Today the bicorne is mostly associated with Napoleon Bonaparte and this style of hat was worn widely by most generals and staff officers until 1914. The bicorne descended from the tricorne. There was usually a cockade in the national colours at the front of the hat, but later on the hat became more triangular in shape and the two ends became more pointed. During the 1790s the hat was worn side-to-side. Some were even designed so they could be folded flat. This style was known as a chapeau-bras. During World War I the bicorne was worn as part of the full dress for officers. By the Second World War the hat had almost disappeared in this context. In the UK, cocked hats are worn during some ceremonial occasions: During the Trooping of the Colour the Major-General commanding the Household Division wears full dress uniform with a cocked hat and a swan-feather plume. When the Queen is represented in Parliament by Lords Commissioners, a plain black bicorne is worn. Senior officers holding certain royal appointments wear cocked hats.

2021-03-30T16:03:20+01:003 August 2017|

Ranks Of The Royal Air Force (RAF)

The Royal Air Force (RAF) introduced officer ranks in 1919. Prior to this, Army ranks were used. Interestingly, many ranks within the Royal Air Force do not correspond with the actual duties of an officer. For example, a pilot officer may not be trained to pilot an aircraft. The ranking for pilots actually starts at cadet officer and is then upgraded to flying officer on graduation. Commissioned ranks within the RAF wear rank insignia on the lower arm of their dress uniform. There are many ranks which exist across all three forces: Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Army. Of the three, the Royal Air Force rank will most always be the junior – the Royal Navy has seniority over the Army and the RAF. The commissioned ranks for the Royal Air Force are shown here. Rank insignia, which was to be worn on the jacket cuff, was established for the force in 1918. The ranking insignia has similarities to the Royal Navy rings. In 1919 the colour of the rank braid changed to black with a central pale blue stripe. The RAF mess dress, however, continued to be gold. Non-Commissioned aircrew rank insignia is worn on the upper arm of dress uniform, apart from the Master Aircrew who wear their badges on the lower arm. Non-Commissioned other ranks are shown below. Most of these ranks, apart from, Warrant Officer and Master Aircrew, are worn on the lower arm. We stock many of the rank insignia for the Royal Air Force. You can view them here.

2021-03-30T16:07:02+01:0012 June 2017|

What is a Spur?

Spurs are usually worn in pairs on the heels of riding boots. Their purpose is to help direct the horse to move forward or laterally while riding. They help to refine commands but to also backup more natural riding aids such as the legs, hands and voice. The spur was first used by the Celts during the La Tène period which began in the 5th century BC. A medieval knight was said to have ‘earned his spurs’ and this phrase has continued in to the modern era as an honour given to individuals in organisations with military heritage. Members of the British Order of the Garter receive spurs from the Monarchy. Spur styles differ between disciplines. For instance, spurs used for western riding tend to be more decorated and heavier. Spurs used in English riding tend to be of a more conservative design and are very slim and sleek with a rounded or blunt end. When used in sports riding such as dressage, the spur’s purpose is not to speed up a horse, but to give accurate aids during complex movements. Dressage riders tend to ride in ‘Waterford’ style spurs which have a rounded knob on the end. Collectors of spurs look for beautiful antique spurs which often include a ‘rowel spur’. The rowel is a revolving wheel or disk containing radiating points, typically the type seen in Western Movies. Nowadays there are strict rules that dictate spur design so as to remove the possibility of inflicting damage to animals during their use. We stock a wide variety of Military Spurs on our website. Follow the link to view our selection.

2021-03-30T16:07:33+01:008 June 2017|

Blue is the Colour

The soldiers chosen to Troop the Colour, on June 17th at Horse Guards Parade, have this year been examined to check they are up to the job. The 1st Battalion The Irish Guards were inspected in their red tunics by General Officer Commanding London District and Major General Commanding the Household Division, Ben Bathurst. The Irish Guards wear a blue plume on the right side of their bearskins, and given that this is The Queen’s Blue Sapphire Jubilee, this seems very appropriate. The mantle and sash of the Order of St. Patrick, is also blue. Everything from the tailoring of the uniform to the regiment’s ability to march to time was under scrutiny by The Major General at Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow. Dohmall, the regiment’s famous wolfhound mascot was also on parade. Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, became Colonel of The Irish Guards in 2011 and this year will be the first time since 2009 that their soldiers have trooped the Colour. Major General Bathurst said: ‘A huge amount of work goes in to making sure that the tailoring is right and I was extremely impressed with what I saw on the parade square.’ As a Foot Guards Regiment, as well as operational duties, the Irish Guards have also been involved in state ceremonial and public duties at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, St James’s Palace and The Tower of London. The soldiers preparing for the Queen’s Birthday Parade will ‘troop the colour’ in front of Her Majesty The Queen, 8500 guests and a massive global TV audience. Garrison Sergeant Major WO1 Andrew Stokes said, ‘We already know that they are excellent in the field but here we are looking for attention to detail and professionalism. I am pleased to say that both were there in abundance.’

2021-03-30T16:21:19+01:0022 February 2017|

What is a Hackle/Plume?

The plume/hackle is generally made from clipped chicken feathers and is worn on a military headdress purely for decorative or ornamental purposes. The colour of the plume differs between regiments but they are mostly worn by infantry regiments, especially those designated as fusilier regiments. The large plume was originally named a heckle by the Scots, and was attached to the feather bonnet worn by the Highland regiments, drummers, pipers and bandsmen. The smaller version was adopted by the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment and to be worn as a sun helmet. The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers wears a very distinctive red and white hackle. The regiment was awarded the hackle to recognise its defeat of the French at the Battle of St Lucia in 1778. The white hackles were removed from dead French soldiers and then in 1829 the regiment was ordered by King William IV to make their white plumes more distinguished with a red tip.

2021-03-30T16:25:46+01:0018 January 2017|

How to wear an Aiguillette

An aiguillette is an ornamental braided cord, usually worn on a uniform to denote an honour. Although similar in some ways to a lanyard, the two should not be confused. Lanyards are made from fibre, whereas aiguillettes are usually made from silver or gold cord. Aiguillettes also have pointed tips. Plates of armour used to be secured together by attaching the breast and back plates with short loops of cord acting as a hinge on one side, while a more ornate loop was tied to support the arm defences on the other. As armour became more ornamental so did these ties. After the civil wars it became fashionable to have bunches of ribbons worn at the shoulder sometimes in the form of bows with tagged ends. This fashion died out in England but continued in the French court dress of Louis the 14th and 15th into the early 18th century. This style was revived by the British Army in the form of a knot with three loops, as a corporal’s badge of rank. In this form it was made of worsted or silk cord of regimental colour, with the pointed tags in the same metal as the buttons and coat lace. They were also worn in this fashion by staff officers in metal cord. This style continued for staff officers up to 1814 when the French style was introduced. This had evolved in the French court and army into the style we now recognise but in lighter cord and made in worsted, silk or metal cord. The modern heavy cord style is an elaborate Victorian invention. In the British Army there are four different types of aiguillette. 1st Class or Royal are worn by admirals of fleet, field marshals and also by members of the royal family. These aiguillettes are made from gold wire cord and worn on the right shoulder. Commissioned Officers of the Household Cavalry also wear this, but only in full dress. Warrant Officers of the Household Cavalry also wear them but on the left-hand shoulder. 2nd Class or Board are gold and dark blue or crimson and light blue. These differ slightly depending on whether they are worn by the RAF, Royal Navy or Army. This aiguillette is worn by officers on the right shoulder, along with military members of the Defence Board. 3rd Class or Staff are gold and dark blue, crimson or light blue. This again depends on whether they are being worn by the RAF, Royal Navy or Army. This aiguillette is worn on the left shoulder by assistants and aides-de-camp. The fourth is a simple aiguillette and is worn by lance corporals in the Household Cavalry and by bandsmen of the Dragoon Guards in full dress.

2021-03-30T16:38:33+01:005 December 2016|

Why do Troops Salute

Salutes are primarily used in the Armed Forces to show respect. There are numerous methods for performing the salute including: hand gestures, rifle shots, hoisting flags and the removal of headgear. The salute is to acknowledge the Queen’s commission. The subordinate salutes first and holds it until their superior has responded. It is thought that the salute originated when knights greeted each other to show friendly intention by lifting their visor to show their faces. Medieval visors were equipped with a spike which allowed the visor to be lifted in a saluting motion. A British order book in 1745 stated that ‘The men are ordered not to pull off their hats when they pass an officer, or to speak to them, but only to clap up their hands to their hats and bow as they pass.’ This, overtime, evolved into a modern salute. The naval salute is a different gesture, again, as sailors salute with their palm downwards. This is said to be because naval ratings usually had dirty hands. The British Army and Royal Air Force salute has been given with the right-hand palm facing forwards since 1917 and was given with the hand furthest from the person being saluted. View the videos below to see how a salute is done in the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and British Army.

2021-03-30T16:39:24+01:0022 November 2016|

Why do Military Regiments have Bands?

Music is an important and influential part of military life and is seen as a strong source of morale. Musicians support the regiments at ceremonial events and consist mostly of wind and percussion instruments. As well as appearing at parades such as the Remembrance Day Parade, military bands have also been known to be deployed on operations to Iraq to serve as army reserve soldiers. There are two types of historical traditions in military bands. The first uses field music instruments such as drums or trumpets. This type of band was used to control troops on the battlefields. Long before the high-tech battlefields of today, signalling in camp and on the field was carried out by the beating of a drum and the sounding of the trumpets. The second tradition uses brass and woodwind instruments. Bands were formed by soldiers, and each regiment in the British Army maintained its own military band. Until 1749 bandsmen were civilians and then at a later date became enlisted men who accompanied the regiment to provide music to raise the morale. The oldest British military band is the Royal Artillery Band which dates back to 1557. After 1994 the number of bands was reduced from 69 to 22. The Regular Army Bands in the British Army are part of the Corps of Army Music. They range from traditional marching bands to concert bands to small string orchestras. The Corps of Army Music (CAMUS) is dedicated to the provision of military music. Bands such as the Band of The Household Cavalry, The Royal Artillery Band, Band of the Scots Guards and the Band of the Queens Division make up the bands of the corps. Military bands vary in function, from troop entertainment to public relations to playing at special events.  They play ceremonial and marching music and the modern day military musicians perform in other styles such as rock and roll. View our Corps Of Army Music Items here

2021-03-30T16:39:55+01:0015 November 2016|

Military Fashion

You can see a strong military influence throughout the whole of the fashion industry. This season’s jackets have a strong 18th century British and French theme – a strong shoulder decorated with epaulettes, brass buttons and rope trims. To bring the jackets into the modern era there are usually a few add-ons such as bows or crystals. Many military uniform staples have become cornerstones of modern-day fashion but were actually borne out of more practical requirements. The trendy trench coat, for instance, dates back to 1853 when it was thought that officers fighting in the Crimean War needed long practical jackets to protect them from the elements. In fact Burberry submitted a design to the War Office in 1901 for an officer’s raincoat. They made it using their own patented cotton fabric featuring large lapels and epaulettes. Khakis were introduced in the 1840s by Harry Lumsden. Until then the British Military wore bright outfits. Lumsden was the commanding officer of the Bengal Irregular Cavalry. He stated that “a tight scarlet tunic with a high stock was not the most suitable garment in which to wage war in the plains of the Punjab in the hot weather.” He decided to give all his men coarse cotton smocks dyed with mazari which was a local dull brown plant. The leather items were dyed with mulberry juice and the two colours together became known as khaki, from the Persian word ‘khak’ which means earth or dust. Bomber Jackets were introduced during the First World War when most airplanes had open cockpits. The US Army established the Aviation Clothing Board in September 1917 and developed a heavy duty leather flight jacket which had high collars with snug cuffs. In 1931 standard issue A2 Bomber Jackets made from seal skin leather and a cotton lining were issued. It soon became impractical to supply seal skin so the jackets were instead made from horsehide. These days bomber jackets are further embellished with add-ons such as military badges and patches. View our range of military badges here. Military tunics are a huge staple this season and can be purchased from a variety of high street stores such as Zara, TopShop, ASOS, Mango and many more. Most of these jackets feature brass buttons and a structured collar. Many are often decorated with epaulettes or gold braid to create intricate detailing. The Drummer’s tunic, worn in the Bands of the Infantry Regiment is an iconic item famously decorated with Fleur De Lis lace which can be purchased here. Military trends are becoming an increasing part of everyday fashion, and are even combined with basics such as jeans and t-shirts. Many would argue that the flamboyant design aesthetic of Napoleon Bonaparte in the 19th century is widely regarded as a cultural turning point.

2021-03-30T16:40:23+01:008 November 2016|
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