Officer's undress shoulder belt and pouch : Lieutenant A E Bilton, Victorian Rangers

Place Oceania: Australia, Victoria, Charlton
Accession Number REL/18984.004
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Physical description Gilded brass, Leather
Maker Unknown
Date made c1890s
Conflict Australian Colonial Forces, 1854-1900

Officer's undress brown buff leather shoulder belt with brown vegetable-tanned leather pouch. The belt is not the original having been made from a buff leather belt and dyed brown. An authentic gilt cast brass buckle, slide and tip of the period are attached. The pouch measures overall measures 6 1/2 inches in width, 4 inches in height and 1 3/4 inches in depth. The flap of the pouch is encased along its edge with a polished brass strip and is secured with two small rivets. The badge of the Victorian Military Forces is affixed to the centre of the flap and depicts a brass garter with the words 'AUT PACE AUT BELLO' (in peace or in war) surmounted by a Queen Victoria pattern crown. At the centre is a square cross with five stars and voided surround. Inside the pouch is lined with a red painted steel insert to provide rigidity. On either side of the pouch an oval brass fitting with a fixed brass ring holds two different sized rings.The belt is secured to the pouch through the larger ring. A line is incised around the edges and diagonally across the face of the pouch.

History / Summary

Approval was given on 6 January 1888 for the formation of the Victorian Rifle Volunteers. Members were predominantly drawn from rifle clubs in various country districts. On 5 March 1889 the name of these units was changed to Victorian Rangers. Members of the Rangers were provided with rifle, bayonet, waistbelt and other leather accessories but had to provide their own uniform made to the authorised pattern. Lieutenant Alfred Elgin Bilton was born around 1856. He died at the age of 84 in 1940. He was by profession a chemist and lived in Watson Street, Charlton, Victoria. On 15 October 1891 he was appointed a Lieutenant on probation in the Victorian Rangers and confirmed on 15 April 1892. He was placed on the Retired List in 1901. Bilton was likely to have been a member of 'F' Company formed on 8 July 1889, drawn from men in Charlton, Inglewood and Wedderburn. As the motto 'Aut Pace Aut Bello (introduced in 1886) was replaced with 'Pro Deo et Pro Patria' in 1893, it is likely that the pouch was manufactured before this date.