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Hello all,

I've never been much of a British medal collector, but lately I've picked up a few sets of Boer War and Omdurman Campaign ribbon bars, and I've realized that they're under-collected. I'd love to see any examples of Victorian-Edwardian soldiers wearing ribbon bars that anyone can share!

Also, I had a few questions for the forum about ribbons...

(1) What orders of dress was it appropriate to wear ribbons on in the Edwardian era? When were ribbons worn in lieu of medals? I've only ever seen them on officers blue frock coats, but I imagine enlisted men must have worn them sometimes.

(2) What were the regulations governing construction of ribbon bars at various times, if there were any? I'd like to try to date some of the bars.

(3) What is the purpose of miniature ribbon bars? Were they only worn by veterans? I bought a Boer War ribbon bar set off a colonel on eBay. When he saw my military address he threw in a couple of extra bars he was no longer in need of and a kind note. One of the ribbons was a rather gnarly WWII example. I noticed it was undersized, so I cut off the stitching and found that it had been hastily sewn over a "miniature" ribbon set of the 1914 Star, 1914-1918 service medal and WWI Victory Medal, with ribbons even smaller than those worn on miniature medals! I've never seen this before.

(4) Does anyone have any guidance on how you clean these ribbons? A few of mine are soiled, but quite nice otherwise. I'd like to clean the soiling. I know the ink on modern, US Army ribbons is often water-soluble, so I'm hesitant to try anything. Has anyone tried it?

Thanks!

~TS

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I think ribbons are an increasing field for collectors - although I prefer to see them as part of a medal set. Miniatures are usually reserved for officers and senior NCO's - below that they would have no need of a mess dress - which is what they are worn with. For cleaning - check the ribbons are fast colours by cleaning a small section of the reverse - I would think a little soap and a very little water would improve most of them.

Full size ribbons on undress uniform have been worn for a long time - certainly in the Boer War. You wouldn't wear them on a work uniform - but on a walking out tunic. Full dress would be the medals.

Hope this helps a little - perhaps someone will have access to the Regs. of those days ?

Mervyn

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The dye / colours can tend to run even with cold water,

unless modern replacements can be located then

I would leave them alone or consider turning them inside out.

Kevin in Deva. :beer:

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Hallo Mervyn,

the old colour dies are made from natural ingredients depending from which area.

I believe most British military ribbons can be obtained as modern replacement.

To my way of thinking it would be more preferable to keep the old originals as is,

and add modern reproductions for display.

I have an original British MM given to a Romanian in WW1 came with a piece of original

ribbon so I wrapped a modern replacement around it, rather than mess with the old soiled original piece.

Kevin in Deva. :beer:

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They are definately undercollected!

What ever you do DONT try and clean them! Ribbons of over 100 years in age will not take kindly to any kind of cleaning, particularly british silk ribbons! I have ruined several sets in my time....

Dan

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I agree.

Never try to clean. It can be disastrous!

Lambert

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Hello all,

I appreciate the advice on not cleaning them. I've decided to leave them as is, although a gentle brushing on one example has removed a lot of crud that was sticking to the silk.

"Dress Regulations for the Army - 1900," which I was able to find in the library last night, says that ribbons are only authorized for officers on the khaki and white uniforms. This is consistent with what I've seen in period photographs. Like medals, the regulations indicate that ribbons are to be worn between the first and second buttons in one row. However, the regulations do allow officer to place ribbons on more than one bar, since ribbons cannot overlap.

Does anyone have any idea when they were first adopted formally, or informally?

V/r,

~TS

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