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Museum of the Manchester Regiment Object Focus


Regimental Mess Dish


Regimental Mess DishWhat to the symbols on the dish mean?

1. On the left side of the plate is a depiction of the ‘Brunswick Star’, a symbol used by the Manchester Regiment partially reflecting the 63rd Regiment of Foot’s service in North America between 1775 and 1782, when they often rode as mounted infantry under the celebrated cavalry leader Colonel Tarleton.

2. At the top of the plate is a depiction of the ‘Sphinx’ with ‘Egypt’ beneath. This is a symbol used by the Regiment to remember fighting during the Egyptian campaign of 1801.

3. On the right of the dish is the ‘Fleur-de-Lys’. The Fleur-de-Lys is the symbol most commonly associated with the Manchester Regiment as it is a symbol used by the Manchester Regiment and its forebears since the 1750’s and worn as the Regiment’s cap badge between 1923 and 1958.

4. In the centre of the dish is the coat of arms of the City of Manchester.

What does the design of the coat of arms represent?

• The central shield is red with three gold bands drawn diagonally across to the right hand side.

• The top segment shows a ship at sea in full sail. This is a reference to the City's trading base and to the Manchester Ship Canal.

• On a multi-coloured wreath stands a terrestrial globe, signifying Manchester's international trading links, and covered by a swarm of flying bees. The bee was adopted in the 19th century as a symbol of the City’s industry.

• On the left a heraldic antelope with a chain attached to a gold collar represents Manchester’s engineering industries, and hanging at the shoulder, the Red Rose of Lancashire, which Manchester is traditionally a part of.

• On the right a golden lion stands facing us, crowned with a red castle which is a reference to the Roman fort at Castlefield from which the city originated. The lion also wears the Lancashire Rose.

• The Latin motto "Concilio et Labore" loosely translates as "wisdom and effort".

5. Beneath the Coat of Arms is a scroll bearing the wording: ‘2nd Vol Batt The Manchester Regt’. This tells us this plate was part of a set commission by the Regiment’s 2nd Volunteer Battalion, sometime between 1888 and 1908, when that unit existed by that name.

6. Beneath the scroll is a depiction of the red rose of Lancashire. Manchester exists within the County palatine of this ancient Shire.

Who owned this particular dish?

This dish was owned by Company Sergeant Major John (Jack) Hurdley (155). Jack joined the 2nd Volunteer Battalion in 1897 and continued to serve with the unit (after they had been renamed the 6th Territorial Force Battalion, in 1908) into the First World War (1914-1918). Before the First World War Jack worked as a draughtsman for Messrs Pilkington at Clifton Junction.

Jack was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) while fighting at Gallipoli Turkey in 1915:

“For conspicuous gallantry on 4th June on the Gallipoli Peninsula, during an assault he was wounded in the head and partly paralysed, but refused to be taken to the rear, and continued to give orders and rally scattered parties in the Krithia Nullah. It was largely due to his brave conduct that the advanced line was held”.

Company Sergeant Major Hurdley did recover from his wounds but his injuries were such that he could never return to duty and was discharged from the army on 27 April 1916. The damage to his skull was repaired with a metal plate but the damage to his nervous system meant that for the rest of his life, he had to wear a caliper to support his left foot. He was, later, a leading light in the Boy Scouts movement, in Greater Manchester and, on his retirement, he was ordained as an Anglican minister and died at the age of 83 in 1955.