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Ross Mather

1937 Coronation 'Gold Staff Officer's' baton.

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Recently purchased. A 1937 Coronation Gold Staff Officers Baton. King George VI monogram and 'Coronation 1937' underneath. Accompanied by a gilt wooden plaque indicating this belonged to R. L. Murray-Lawes.

2nd Lieutenant R. L. Murray-Lawes served with 2nd Company, 4th Battalion, Grenadier Guards during the First World War.

The Staff officers were chosen from the three services - Army, Royal Navy and Royal Airforce. As well

as the Baton they also wore a gold wool armband with a high quality finish.

The duty of the Gold Staff Officer at the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth was

to Marshal the Coronation procession inside Westminster Abbey.

Robert Letheridge Murray-Lawes finished his military career in the rank of Lieutenant- Colonel after

the second world war.He was the owner of the 423 acre Old Park Mansion Estate near Dover, which at

the outbreak of the second world war, he gifted to the Ministry of War.

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These are not uncommon objects - however, what is rare is that he took the trouble to put his details with the mounting.

There have been Ushers' Staffs for QE2, G6th , GVth, Edward 7th, Queen Victoria , Wm.4th, G4th and I think G3rd.

They are a temporary appointment of Gentlemen who act as Ushers during the Coronation Ceremony in Westminster

Abbey. The paint on the George 6th. was spray painted or lacquered and tends to flake off - perhaps think of a clear matt

varnish. Good example Mervyn

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Thanks for the information Mervyn. One of the main attractions for me was the fact that it had provenance. Would be nice now to try and find other rank different coloured staffs.....and perhaps the arm bands that were also worn. There are a couple of chips to the paint, so may look to follow your suggestions of protecting it with a layer of varnish.

Best wishes..............Ross

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Ross - this is the colour - I have never seen one in any other colour. The Duke of Norfolk is the Hereditery Grand Marshall of

England and is responsible for organising all Royal Occasions. These include Coronations, Weddings , Jubilees etc.. He carries

a special Baton - a separate one being made for each event. It's shape is based on the Batons shown on his coat of arms (see

my post on his functions on this section .) I had the one for the occasion of the Wedding of the Prince of Wales in 1863 - he

was later Edward 7th. He appoints the Gentlemen - who can be officers or civilians - to be the Ushers on all of these occasions.

However, the Coronation is the one they have Batons. Mervyn

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Ross - in 40 + years of collecting I have never seen these patterns of Ushers' Rods. Personally, I would say modern

items - intended to sell to collectors. However, you could double check with the Dean's Office at Westminster Abbey. Mervyn

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Hi Mervyn. I have downloaded some photos and text taken from the website of 'The College of Arms' relating to the planning of a Coronation at Westminster Abbey. As you will see the reference and photo show that other coloured Staff were used by officers with other specific duties. The text is....".

The arm brassards shown on the left were worn during rehearsals by (from top to bottom): Abbey staff; Gold Staff Officers; tailors and technical attendants; doctors and medical attendants.The congregation were marshalled and ushered in Westminster Abbey by Gold Staff Officers, and others had related responsibilities. They were marked out by the staves they carried. The Gold Staff Officers' staves were designed by the Goldsmiths' Company, following discussions between the company and the Earl Marshal's Office about aspects of their design and their cost. Shown here are drawings of designs for the staves of the Gold Staff Officers, alongside seven examples of different staves.

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Ross - the Brassards I can accept - they are all QE2 and changes will have been made to previous ceremonies. What I do

have problems wiith are the Staves - which show Cyphers for King Edward and King George 5th. Had they been in use they

would show up at auction along with the usual pattern. I think a little more research is needed ? As I said the Dean's Office

and , of course, the Duke of Norfolk. All very interesting . Mervyn

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Ross: Just bought these in December.  The College of Arms tells me that the top one is most likely a Green Staff Officer's baton.  1911 Investiture of the Prince of Wales (First investiture ceremony held in over 600 years).  Sadly, their information on the 1911 ceremony is light at best, so they couldn't tell me who the Officers were.

original.jpg

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Hi Ross, I have read your thread with interest and have uploaded a couple of photos of armlets from my RAF collection which you may find if interest.  The inscription on the first photo is written on the lowest armlet in the second photo.  the central armlet is that of a GVIR usher and used for ceremonial duties etc.  The top armlet is, I believe, for the coronation of GVR but I am by no means certain.  If you can advise me either to the contrary or confirm, I would be most grateful.

With thanks, regards and best wishes  Michael R

Arm (10) - Copy.JPG

Arm (10).JPG

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I have nothing useful to add to the discussion of the batons, but on reading the whole thread I was tickled by Mervyn's description of the Ushers: 

They are a temporary appointment of Gentlemen who act as Ushers during the Coronation Ceremony in Westminster Abbey.

'temporary Gentlemen', of course, being the sneering description accorded war time commissioned officers by their long term, regular Army brethern.

We miss both his eruditon and his wit! 

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Hello both. I have not been on this site for some time and was saddened to learn of the passing of Mervyn. I have known Mervyn since about 1980, and often corresponded with him. In the old days this was by way of a pen, paper and envolope that you'd put a stamp on!!! Rest In Peace Mervyn. Fond memories of a kind and generous man. 

In answer to the two above items. I have only ever added one of these batons to my collections on the one occasion. I have not researched them or their useage and was only given information by Mervyn. As such, cannot add much about the baton or the brassards Im afraid.

Ross

 

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