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The Colours - 1928

Colours.jpg (16587 bytes)

To the right is the Regimental Colour, to the left is the King's Colour circa 1929
Click on the picture to view a larger image

From very early times some easily recognized symbol carried on a staff has been used to distinguish bodies of men in battle. The most famous were the Eagles, carried by the Roman Legions, which were the earliest of permanently organized forces. They formed a natural rallying point in the confusion of hand to hand fighting and became very highly venerated, the loss of an Eagle being a great disgrace.

When this Regiment was first formed each company had a colour carried by the junior subaltern, hence called an Ensign. In 1707 the number was reduced to three and in 1751 it was ordered that only two should be carried, as at present. These consist of the First or King's Colour and the Second or Regimental Colour.

The Colours continued to play a very important part in action for very many years, but with the coming of fighting in extended order their use in action was discontinued and they have not been taken on Active Service since 1879.

Early in the last century it became the practice to lay up old Colours in churches, etc., previous to this they had been frequently presented to the Colonel or to the person who presented the new colours ; the great veneration in which they were held ceasing when they were no longer used. This is the reason why so very few of the old colours have survived. Since 1898, orders have directed that all old colours should be laid up in Churches.


Both CoIours are carried on staffs called "Pikes" surmounted by a Crown and the Royal Crest, a Lion, in gilt, and have red and gold cords and tassels hanging therefrom. Before 1881, the Pike had a spearhead and the Colours were much larger.

The First or King's Colour is an Union Jack (The Great Union) fringed with, gold, in the Centre within a circle bearing the Regimental Title surmounted by a Crown is the number of the Battalion. On the horizontal arm of the St. George's Cross are the following Honours gained in the War, 1914-1918

"MARNE, 1914,"
"YPRES, 1915-17,"
"SOMME, 1916-18,"
"ARRAS, 1917,"
"CAMBRAI, 1917-18,"
"DOIRAN, 1917-18,"

on yellow scrolls. The many Battalions of the Regiment serving in the War 1914-1918 gained fifty-seven Honours, it would have been impossible to have shown all these on the Regimental colours, so the ten most representative Honours were selected and placed upon the King's Colour

The Second or Regimental Colour is a white flag fringed with gold, thereon a red St. George Cross, in the centre within a circle bearing the Regimental Title surmounted by a Crown is the number of the Battalion, round the circle is a wreath of united red and white roses, thistles and shamrocks, round the wreath is a wreath of Laurel bearing the following honours

"GIBRALTAR, 1704-5,"
"ST. LUCIA, 1778,"
"EGYPT, 1882,"
"NILE, 1884-85,"
"SOUTH AFRICA, 1899-1902,"

on yellow scrolls, at the foot of the St. George's Cross is an United Red and White Rose.

The colour is white to correspond with the Regimental Facings and to avoid confusion with a flag of truce the St. George's Cross is added.

The United Red and White Rose was granted in 1881 to all Regiments not authorized to wear a badge on their colours. In old colours Honours are on Blue Scrolls and the Battalion number is in an upper corner.

Extracted from A Short History of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. Its Formation and Services. 1702-1923.


Monday, 19 December, 2005 18:05

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