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Remembered Today:

What are the Colours?


Guest mruk
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Hello All,

This may seem an exremely gormless question, but what are the Colours? I've done a little reading around the subject, and I know that they are more than just merely symbolic, and have to be awarded for battle honours. I also know that in rare exceptions the Colours can also be taken away. But what of the New Armies that were raised in 1914? Would they have adopted the Colours of the Regiment, and did all Regiments and Territorial Forces hold the Colours? Can anyone give me an example or explanation please?

Kind Regards,

Dave

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Many Thanks Kevin [aka PP],

Wikipedia is always very useful, but I was thinking in terms of some of the obituaries I've been reading on the 10th West Yorks, and other newly-formed battalions, where it mentions that some of the men had joined the Colours in September 1914. I was thinking that maybe it was the honours given to the West Yorkshire Regiment as a whole, and that the Kitchener Men would automatically carry these Colours as part of a unit belonging to that regiment. As I understand it, there were five types of army in WW1--the Regulars, the Territorials, the New Armies, the Derby Men, and the conscripts. Would these men have all belonged to the Colours of the Regiment on point of joining, and would any subsequent awards and honours be added to the Colours?

Cheers,

Dave

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some of the men had joined the Colours in September 1914.

This is just a turn of phrase. Reservists were 'recalled to the Colours'. It is a metaphor for the Regiment.

I was thinking that maybe it was the honours given to the West Yorkshire Regiment as a whole, and that the Kitchener Men would automatically carry these Colours as part of a unit belonging to that regiment.

Yes in theory, but no Kitchener battalions would have actually carried Colours!

Would these men have all belonged to the Colours of the Regiment on point of joining, and would any subsequent awards and honours be added to the Colours?

Yes and yes. The Regimental Colours would carry the battle honours of all the constituent battalions (although they are restricted to 10 each for WW1 and WW2 due to the large number awarded).

Regards,

Neil

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Those Service battalions which went to the Rhine (and, I think, all those which had not been disbanded in early 1918) received a King's Colour.

For example, the 16th HLI received theirs on 22nd february, 1919, at Bonn University.

Some still survive: from memory, those presented to the Royal Fusiliers are hung at the Regimental Museum in the Tower.

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post-7376-1157881275.jpg

All Service Battalions of the Great War, apart from Rifle Battalions, received Colours. Surviving battalions had formal parades whereas disbanded battalions received them at a later date at home with small Cadres of former members representing the unit.

The attached photo is of 116th Bde/39th Div's surviving battalions i.e. 18th,N.F.; 23rd N.F.; 25th N.F.; 14th H.L.I. and others of the Division receiving their Colours on the 2nd May 1919.

"Joining the Colours" is really a general term for enlisting into the infantry as opposed to Corps, which did not carry Colours. Battle Honours of Rifle Regiments are borne upon their embellishments.

Graham.

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Dave,

The Service Battalions raised for the Great War each received a Kings Colour only, similar in design to those of the Permanent Battalions but with no Scrolls, while the tops of the Colour Poles have gilt spear-shaped points instead of the Crown and Lion.

Regards Charles

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All Service Battalions of the Great War, apart from Rifle Battalions, received Colours.

Graham.

Second Line battalions of Territorial Force infantry battalions also received a King's Colour, I think

Service 'with the Colours' implied regular service as opposed to with the reserve. I think it was possible before WW1 to sign up for a twelve year engagement of seven years with the colours and five on the reserve. I think this must have been possible from about the time of the Cardwell reforms (as opposed to having to sign on for 22 years) as I remember (dimly) learning something of it in history at school (and in my day, history stopped at 1880). This would presumably be why the army could call on a considerable number of reservists in August 1914 who had been not too long out of regular service. The serve 'service with the colours' is still in use.

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