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Presentation of Colours to the TF in 1909


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I recently read in a few publications that the King made a mass presentation of Colours to the Territorial Force in 1909. It was mentioned in the Times. Does anyone know if a photograph(s) exists of this event. More specifically were the Colours simply Union Flags that were then consecrated as King's Colours (presumably at the same ceremony) and does anyone know if the TF battalions had any Regimental Colours at the ceremony and whether any carried South Africa as a battle honour on these colours?

Thanks in advance.

MG

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Found this one - Colour Party 1st Hertford's;-

http://www.hertfordshire-genealogy.co.uk/data/occupations/military/military-herts-reg-1909.htm

Have you got Ray Westlakes 'Territorial Regiments', which may have photo's in it?

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Thanks Graham. Very useful. Not enough detail to see if the regimental Colour is emblazoned though. I have Westlake's Territorial Battalions and will have a look. Didn't think of that. Thanks MG

Edit. Page 35 has a colour party of the 1/5th Royal Sussex. Both King's and Regimental Colours. MG

Edit 2: page 84 has the 2nd (City of London) Bn The London Regiment with both Colours and what appears to be a battle honour under the central device of the Regimental Colour. MG

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Not enough detail to see if the regimental Colour is emblazoned though. I have Westlake's Territorial Battalions and will have a look. Didn't think of that. Thanks MG

Not sure if this helps

Teesdale Mercury

post-51028-0-03649100-1383248135_thumb.p

Craig

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Yes. Army Regulations forbade Colours being handed to individuals and the wording is something along the lines of laying them up in a sacred place - typically the local church or cathedral. A gentleman called Geddes spent a lifetime tracking them down and wrote four books on the subject. They were privately published in limited numbers and are now quite scarce. I don't have the volume on the TF battalions but Vol II Units Raised During WWI is a valuable reference book.

Interestingly after the war when unit battle honours were consolidated at Regimental level and all battalions carried the Selected Regimental honours at least 15 units decided to ignore the instructions and carry 'their' battle honours.

My OP question was essentially trying to confirm that prior to the Great War TF units only carried battle honours awarded to that battalion - in almost every case one of the South Africa battle honours. Every unit had to pay to emblazon their own colours and despite strict guidelines there was a very wide range of interpretations of what the instructions meant. It is an interesting are that needs lots more research.

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Interestingly after the war when unit battle honours were consolidated at Regimental level and all battalions carried the Selected Regimental honours at least 15 units decided to ignore the instructions and carry 'their' battle honours.

If the British army listened to the British army, the world would be unintresting.

Sorry Martain being a bit thick here, are you saying TF units had the colours presented then altered them to suit what ever they wanted?

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I think the procedure was as follows:

1. The regiment chose the basic design.

2. It was submitted to the Inspector of Regimental Colours (one of the officers of the College of Arms) to check that it was heraldically correct.

3. A final design was prepared by the Inspector and sent for approval by the King, who signed it.

4. The colours were actually made, under arrangements made by the regiment.

5. The colours were brought to a parade to be consecrated and formally "presented" by the King, a senior Royal, or possibly the county Lord Lieutenant.

In the history of the Yeomen of the Guard there is an interesting story about the creation of a device to represent the House of Windsor. Apparently King George VI didn't like it because the flag (Royal Standard) on the Castle didn't look realistic! This drew a rather pained response from the Inspector, saying that he had spent some time examining the real flag in situ, and the King seems to have relented!

Ron

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Thank you Ron, most enlighting.

A quick change at point 4, hope the wind does not blow on the day for point 5 and any additions are not stirred in the wind!

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Ron...what period are you referring to? I don't think this procedure was in process in 1909 when the colours were presented. Maybe post war but I doubt very much in practise in 1909 regardless of any instructions

This was only one year after the TF were allegedly fully assimilated into the Regimental systems after the Haldane reforms. There is plenty of evidence that the relationship between the TF (previously Volunteer Battalions with histories typically going back to at least 1859) and the Regulars was fairly difficult. Some of the TF battalions had long histories and their own battle honour(s) and separate traditions and affiliations. More than a few were spiritually 'Rifles' suddenly rammed into a non Rifles Regiment. In extremis the island based volunteers where the new reforms had no legal weight such as the Isle of Man, Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands created an interesting conundrum where for example the so called 8th Bn Hampshire Regt still refused this title right into the Great War, preferring their (legally proper but militarily recalcitrant) name of Isle of Wight Rifles. I cannot imagine this unit regarded itself as Hampshire Regt battalion for a very long time and the idea they would subject themselves to a regimental committee on Colours is something I would struggle to believe, especially having waded through their papers in recent months.

Separately on a less parochial level it is noteworthy that the Durham militia and VB battalions and later TF battalions had no opportunity to meet the regular 'parent' battalions for the simple reason there was no station in Co. Durham for either of the Regular Battalions. This was a barrier to the formation of Regimental esprit de corps which could not and can not be created with pen and paper. It was extremely rare for county based regular battalions to liaise with their newly appointed TF brethren for the simple reason that they rarely had the opportunity to be based in the same location between 1908 (formation of the TF) and 1914. put simply it was in many cases merely a paper exercise with no spiritual bond. Similarly there are records of anecdotes from Cambridgeshire volunteers who were rather perplexed to suddenly find themselves part of the Suffolk regiment territorial structure. Etc ad nauseam. The list goes on. Regardless of AOIs and AOs, the TF fought an aggressive rearguard action against assimilation and absorption which was accelerated when Kitchener decided to ignore the TF as a basis for building the New Armies.

In my view the acceptance of the TF only really started when Kitchener realised his casualty expectations were woefully wrong and the BEF was likely to be destroyed before his New Armies were ready. The TF were used to plug the gaps with. Typically one TF battalion was attached to each Regular Brigade. Their performance under extreme circumstances (London Scottish for example) won admiration from the hard-pressed regulars and started the long process of assimilation that was not really completed until 1921 when the battle honours were consolidated. Even then, at least 15 battalions still decided to stick two fingers in the air.

Despite the performance of the TF in F&F in 1914, their performance in theatres such as Gallipoli was a major setback. There is a thread running on the Welsh Divisions at the moment which appears to have very limited understanding on the 53rd Welsh Div TF performance at Gallipoli. It's performance at Suvla is apparently going to be celebrated. Really. I hope they don't bother to do any research as I think they are likely to be quite shocked by the contemporary vitriolic and almost universal criticism and condemnation of this TF formation. Maybe if they do there will be a sudden realisation and acceptance that it was less than 50% Welsh. I doubt very much the regular Welsh battalions would really like to have been associated with the units in the 53rd Div in late 1915. This may have changed later but at the time they were the target of severe criticism .... and any 'Regimental' esprit de corps would probably have been at an all time low in August September 1915. This is the sort of reality rarely captured in the histories such as Dudley Ward's epic nonsense on the 53rd Div's work at Suvla. Doubtless this will be gilded further by the Welsh politicians in the near future.

A long winded argument. The much maligned TF had much to be bitter about in my view and on occasion reason to be criticised. By extension I doubt very much that in 1909 they had any concept of County Regimental tradition. It was forged year later in the post conscription era.

I expect to be shot down as none of this is in the Regimental histories.

MG

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post-7376-0-19876600-1383289163_thumb.jp

Here is ACI 444 of 21st July 1919 which refers to Colours and how they should be emblazoned. Historically there are no changes from those presented to any Regular Regiment prior to this date - changes as Ron states were 'applied' for.


post-7376-0-79444200-1383289481_thumb.jp

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post-7376-0-02875800-1383289557_thumb.jp

Later Instructions would follow for Cavalry & Yeomanry Guidons.

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Ron...what period are you referring to? I don't think this procedure was in process in 1909 when the colours were presented. Maybe post war but I doubt very much in practise in 1909 regardless of any instructions

This was only one year after the TF were allegedly fully assimilated into the Regimental systems after the Haldane reforms. There is plenty of evidence that the relationship between the TF (previously Volunteer Battalions with histories typically going back to at least 1859) and the Regulars was fairly difficult. Some of the TF battalions had long histories and their own battle honour(s) and separate traditions and affiliations. More than a few were spiritually 'Rifles' suddenly rammed into a non Rifles Regiment. In extremis the island based volunteers where the new reforms had no legal weight such as the Isle of Man, Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands created an interesting conundrum where for example the so called 8th Bn Hampshire Regt still refused this title right into the Great War, preferring their (legally proper but militarily recalcitrant) name of Isle of Wight Rifles. I cannot imagine this unit regarded itself as Hampshire Regt battalion for a very long time and the idea they would subject themselves to a regimental committee on Colours is something I would struggle to believe, especially having waded through their papers in recent months.

Separately on a less parochial level it is noteworthy that the Durham militia and VB battalions and later TF battalions had no opportunity to meet the regular 'parent' battalions for the simple reason there was no station in Co. Durham for either of the Regular Battalions. This was a barrier to the formation of Regimental esprit de corps which could not and can not be created with pen and paper. It was extremely rare for county based regular battalions to liaise with their newly appointed TF brethren for the simple reason that they rarely had the opportunity to be based in the same location between 1908 (formation of the TF) and 1914. put simply it was in many cases merely a paper exercise with no spiritual bond. Similarly there are records of anecdotes from Cambridgeshire volunteers who were rather perplexed to suddenly find themselves part of the Suffolk regiment territorial structure. Etc ad nauseam. The list goes on. Regardless of AOIs and AOs, the TF fought an aggressive rearguard action against assimilation and absorption which was accelerated when Kitchener decided to ignore the TF as a basis for building the New Armies.

In my view the acceptance of the TF only really started when Kitchener realised his casualty expectations were woefully wrong and the BEF was likely to be destroyed before his New Armies were ready. The TF were used to plug the gaps with. Typically one TF battalion was attached to each Regular Brigade. Their performance under extreme circumstances (London Scottish for example) won admiration from the hard-pressed regulars and started the long process of assimilation that was not really completed until 1921 when the battle honours were consolidated. Even then, at least 15 battalions still decided to stick two fingers in the air.

While I agree that the initial bringing together of the Regulars would have been fraught in some respects or in some Counties, you have to also remember that the 'County' Regiment itself was in reality a forced marriage of Foot Regiments in 1881 and in many cases they had no County connection at all. This is especially signifcant when looking at the Digest of Service, in which Regiments give you lists of where their recruits are coming from.

The Northumberland Fusiliers had a greater affiliation to the Home Counties through it's other ranks than it certainly did to Northumberland and this was only ever corrected by the coming of the Great War. At times it was actually banned from it's recruiting drives in the Home Counties because of it's popularity, but wherever they hailed from their affinity to 'Northumberland' was never in doubt. Few would have known where Newcastle actually was on their enlisting, but the Regiment did make great efforts to assimilate it's members with their 'new' home, with 'marches' throughout Northumberland. Post-War the change was dramatic in it's recruiting locally, from both Northumberland and Durham, to a point in the 1950's & 1960's where only recruits with 'family' association to the Regiment were accepted.

The Durham's on the other hand, although sharing a Depot with the Northumberlands in Newcastle(5th/68th Depot), seemed to have a greater number of men coming to the Regiment from the two Counties and their association with both Militia/S.R. and Volunteers/T.F. does not seem to have been as troubled as others may have been. Recruitng locally for the Durham's never waned, to the point where it actually exported men to other Light Infantry units and even post 1968 it was difficult to tell which of the three Regular Battalions of the Light Infantry didn't have a Durham connection.

In reality it was the Militia/Special Reserve who were the epitomy of what a 'County' Regiment should look like, due to their long historial connections not only through it's recruits, but also through the County 'families', many of whom were to serve as officers within the local unit. However historically the Miltia had also had a lot of bad press over the years, especially during periods of embodiement, something which the later Volunteers did not have. The history of Volunteers wasn't exactly plain sailing with 'in-fighting' among Corps when it came to officer selection - remember many Corps were based upon Middle Class occupations and enlistment was through subscription, whereas the Militia was not. Even greater problems arose on the formation of their Administration units and I recall a major fall-out within one of the Northumberland Volunteer Corps, which saw members of one Corps refuse to join the Administration Battalion and re-enlist to a man in the nearest Volunteer Artillery unit.

I have probably digressed a great deal from your original post, but you have to look at the broader picture and what ever may have happened with the Isle of Wight Rifles may not have occurred elsewhere and the association between the Regulars/Special Reserve and T.F. post-1909 may have been stronger than what you actually think, but you would have to look at each Regiment on a County by County basis. One thing I did learn during my own T.A. years was that the we too were a 'family', but we were also part of the 'Regiment', come hell or high water.

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Graham.. thank you for this. I have similar images for Regimental Colours. Some years ago I went through the files at The National Archives and dug up a heap of correspondence and papers that included draft ACI's and minutes from the Battlefield Nomenclature Committee. It includes draft ACIs as late as 1922 for instructions for the TF units (surely by this date TA?) when the debate was raging whether to consolidate battle honours at Regimental level. It also includes interesting correspondence and draft ACIs on how Regimental committees should choose the ten Great War Battle honours and ensuring that all battalions in a Regiment would be recognised by at least one of the selected honours; The London Regiment's battalions for some reason managed to avoid being consolidated into one large Regiment for the purposes of battle honours and all carried their own battalion's battle honours. This is something that I have never really understood Clearly the size of the London Regiment was a factor, but given the number of Service battalions in, say, the Northumberland Fusiliers I wonder why this decision did not extend to the rest of the TF. The correspondence indicates that it was because the London Regiment battalions did not form an integral part of the London Regimen, rather they were merely affiliated. I am sure units such as the Isle of Wight Rifles (8th Bn Hampshire Regt TF) would consider their affiliation with the Hampshire Regiment less tenuous that the London Battalions' affiliation with the Count of London Regiment.

According to Geddes at least 15 units that were raised in the Great War defied the order. One unit even managed to carry eleven battle honours on its King's Colour and the other 14 only carried honours that they had won. Sadly I don't have Geddes' book on TF Colours but I suspect a few of those units also railed at having 'their' honours consolidated with the other battalion honours.

post-55873-0-10498400-1383292962_thumb.j

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Graham.. thank you for this. I have similar images for Regimental Colours. Some years ago I went through the files at The National Archives and dug up a heap of correspondence and papers that included draft ACI's and minutes from the Battlefield Nomenclature Committee. It includes draft ACIs as late as 1922 for instructions for the TF units (surely by this date TA?) when the debate was raging whether to consolidate battle honours at Regimental level. It also includes interesting correspondence and draft ACIs on how Regimental committees should choose the ten Great War Battle honours and ensuring that all battalions in a Regiment would be recognised by at least one of the selected honours; The London Regiment's battalions for some reason managed to avoid being consolidated into one large Regiment for the purposes of battle honours and all carried their own battalion's battle honours. This is something that I have never really understood Clearly the size of the London Regiment was a factor, but given the number of Service battalions in, say, the Northumberland Fusiliers I wonder why this decision did not extend to the rest of the TF. The correspondence indicates that it was because the London Regiment battalions did not form an integral part of the London Regimen, rather they were merely affiliated. I am sure units such as the Isle of Wight Rifles (8th Bn Hampshire Regt TF) would consider their affiliation with the Hampshire Regiment less tenuous that the London Battalions' affiliation with the Count of London Regiment.

According to Geddes at least 15 units that were raised in the Great War defied the order. One unit even managed to carry eleven battle honours on its King's Colour and the other 14 only carried honours that they had won. Sadly I don't have Geddes' book on TF Colours but I suspect a few of those units also railed at having 'their' honours consolidated with the other battalion honours.

The London Regiment isn't a field of mine, but it's easy to appreciate the problems they would have simply because of the pre-War titles and their 'original' affiliations. The bulk of those untis within London were 'Rifles' and as such both their Dress and affiliation were to the Kings Royal Rifles and Rifle Brigade - neither of which carry Colours. The London Regiment in my eyes, was like the 'Administration' Battalions of the old Volunteers, where you have many coming into 'one' bringing along their history, tradition and problems with them. They may have become Battalions within a new 'Regiment', but nearly all kept their 'old' titles within their 'new' Battalion distinction and their uniforms and old affiliations remained as strong as ever. A problem which only time resolved.

As the proverb goes - "you can take a horse to water, but you can't make it drink".

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Graham - Thanks - ..it isn't a field of mine either....but it is a minefield.

Mike - thanks for the links. Helpful as ever. It again confirms that South Africa battle honours were carried in 1908. Interesting detail on the design process too. Thanks. Much appreciated.

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