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 time.
As you will remember from chapter one of my personal book, according to some historians, buttons of the type we were finding did not exist in 1758, which meant they could not, under any circumstances be associated with the wreck of the Invincible. However, by now our confidence was rapidly growing and we were challenging the academics and were not afraid to offer them alternative suggestions and theories as to the age of these buttons. Being told the wreck could NOT be that of the Invincible just made me more determined than ever to find the evidence to prove them wrong. Some suggest that I have a tenacious side to my character - only those who knew me at that time can agree or disagree with that point of view. Certainly I was not about to let the historians dictate to Arthur and Me simply by quoting dates from books. These same historians would not even consider our suggestions and stated categorically that the buttons did not exist before 1776! Their reasoning behind such an adamant statement, well, according to records, that date of 1776 was when the government signed the

"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 this.
One of the theory's put forward was a suggestion that over the years, there have been many Army garrisons based along the shoreline at Southsea and the soldiers, they said, must often have walked along the beach.
All sounds pretty plausible so far - don't you agree?
It was suggested that buttons would be lost from their tunics and garments during these walks, fall to the stones, and then be carried by tidal action, out into the Solent ending up on the wreck!
Oops, plausibility just went out the window!!!!
In order to do what they suggested, these inanimate buttons would have embarked on a very hazardous journey indeed, taking them 'away' from the shore for a distance of some three miles. On this trip they would firstly have had to cross a very soft, flat, sandy seabed for about two miles before dropping down into slightly deeper water for another half a mile or so. They would then have had to climb back out of the deeper channel to be up on top of the Dean Tail sandbank, travel another half a mile and come to rest, all together within the cosy confines of the submerged hull and within very close proximity of one another within the structure. There they would stay for more than two hundred years. Plausible? Remotely possible? We didn't think so - what do you think?

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?