|Several of my dive logs from the 80's have entries that read quite simply:
"button hunting today".
With the permission of my Boss at Goodyear Tyres UK, Graham Platt, I
used to take afternoons off work simply to go out and spend a couple of
hours on the sea bed, my only thought being to very carefully look for
buttons. Working in a very hostile environment on the seabed it was always
an absolute thrill to see a small round button appear through the sediment.
I liked to think of these afternoons not as "time off work"
but more as "sponsorship" from Goodyear? After all, by now I
was becoming well known locally and was appearing regularly on local radio
and television. Each time I had managed to slip in the name Goodyear and
so - yes - I believe the company benefited from sponsoring me with their
"warrant for the introduction of numbered regimental buttons".
If what they were saying was true, I asked for just one plausible explanation
for the buttons being within the wreck of the Invincible? Some of the
suggestions were absolutely laughable - but then that is another story!
Oh all right then, I'll tell you anyway because, I am sure you will appreciate
Another theory was to say that a button collector at some later date had dropped his collection over the side of a boat or ship, and that the collection had fallen or drifted around finally ending up in the wreck. Plausible? Not really. Possible? Well I guess it is possible but highly improbable in the extreme.
OUR THEORY - We thought long and hard about this and put forward our
own theory. Remember that we were finding only very high status buttons
mainly silver and gilt. This meant officers uniforms. We suggested that
when officers initially heard that their regiments were no longer to be
called by their name - e.g.The Welsh Borderers - but instead would be
known by a number i.e. the 24th Regiment of foot soldiers, the officers
would necessarily want to "show off" a little - as do most officers,
and rightly so is what I say! Is it possible therefore, nay, not possible
but highly probable, that these officers, being extremely proud of their
regiments, had their own buttons produced and started wearing them 'before'
the government warrant numbering the regiments was 'officially' signed?
We know that Invincible was one of the command ships in the famous second
Louisburg expedition and that if the campaign were successful, some of
the officers could be staying overseas for some years. Therefore, Invincble
could easily have been carrying spare uniforms and buttons etc. for the
officers in command of the troops. After all, where would they get the
buttons made once they were abroad?
|Of course, I am forgetting the button manufacturers! We had buttons with actual manufacturers names and addresses on the back that alegedly demonstrated our theory was wrong!!!! Not true, but then, that 'really is' another story with a nice twist to the ending - perhaps later in the book?|