The Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry

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Address by Field Marshal Lord Harding of Petherton.

At Europa Point Parade Ground on 17th May 1962.

Colonel Hine-Haycock, Officers, Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Men of The 1st Battalion The Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry. It is a very high honour for me to have been appointed by Her Majesty The Queen to present you with your New Colours today, here in this ancient fortress of Gibraltar which has many and such romantic associations with our history.

As a West Countryman by birth and upbringing, as one who has held a commission in the Somerset Light Infantry, and as the first Colonel of the Regiment, I am particularly proud and happy to be here with you on this historic occassion. And it is an historic occassion-and a memorable occassion- because these Colours which have just been solemnly consecrated are the first to bear the name, the title and the badge of the Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry. They have emblazoned upon them the battle honours of the two famous Regiments which between them gave birth to your Regiment. They represent the achievements and the victories of the past- the foundations on which a yet more gloroius future can-and I am sure will be built.

It is true that in the British Infantry the Regiment is everything, but it is not organisation or title that count for most, but the spirit of the Regiment, the spirit of service to Sovereign and to Country, the spirit of self-sacrifice, the spirit of comradeship, the unconquerable spirit of the warrior. Those are the things that matter-those are the things that make a regiment. History has shown and you have once more proved that it is the spirit that makes a good Regiment.

From all the reports that have reached me, from what I have been told about you since I arrived a few days ago, and from what I have seen for myself on parade this morning it is quite clear to me that under the inspiring leadership of your Commanding Officer you are most worthily upholding the high standards and great traditions of the distinguished Regiments that gave you birth. And so it is with deep sincerity that I say to you-to all of you-Well done, the Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry. Well done indeed.

In years gone by when Colours were carried on the battlefield no sacrifice was deemed to great to carry them forward to victory or to preserve them from capture. Today they are the symbol of that same indomitable spirit-the spirit of the Regiment which all ranks share and enjoy-to which all ranks contribute and which will never never die.

And now to conclude, I am sure I speak for all those who have the privilege of being here today when I congratulate you-all of you- most sincerely and most heartily on an excellent parade-and I am sure too that I speak for many others who unfortunately cannot be here today when I wish you all good fortune and good success in your undertakings.

Guard your New Colours closely, and may they always be to you a scource of strength and courage, and a reminder of the great inheritance of service in comradeship that is now yours to hold, to enhance and to hand on.

Reply by Lieut-Colonel W. Hine-Haycock.

Field Marshal, Sir,

Today we have on parade with this Battalion men, both National Service and Regulars, whose forefathers have served under the Colours which we saw marched off today for the last time, and indeed Sir, those whose forefathers died under them. We have therfore always treated them with the deepest respect and the greatest affection. I do not in any way want to make it appear that that affection, and that respect has died as did the strains of Auld Lang Syne this morning. Rather it has passed to the New Colours which, a few minutes ago, were blessed by the Chaplain General and entrusted by you to our care, and I can assure you Sir, that those Colours will be guarded and cherished by every means within our power.

Lastly, Sir I would thank you on behalf of all ranks on parade today, not only for entrusting those Colours to our care but also for your words of strength and encouragement which will remain for ever an inspiration in the hearts of those to whom they were addressed.



Thursday, 22 September, 2016 15:22

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