Brass Button Stick
The Highlander’s Museum
Button sticks were used to protect a soldier’s uniform whilst polishing the buttons, showing the high standards expected and the care taken with appearance.
This button stick belonged to Private John Collins of the 72nd Highlanders. It has been engraved with a record of his service since his enlistment in 1845, suggesting the pride shown by Private Collins about his service record.
During 14 years of service, he was stationed in Gibraltar, the Caribbean (which was called the West Indies), Canada, Ireland, Malta, and India. In many cases, he was involved in colonial conflict on behalf of the British empire. This includes his involvement during the First War of Indian Independence in 1857 (also called the Indian Uprising, Mutiny, or Rebellion).
This uprising was in response to the rule of the British East India Company which functioned as a sovereign power, acting on behalf of the British Crown. The large number of the names by which this event is known reflects the controversy surrounding this bloody history, as a result of which it has been estimated that over 800,000 Indian people died.