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 Rally to the regimental colours

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littlehand

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PostSubject: Rally to the regimental colours   Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:36 am

In battlefields of old Regiments would forms lines and advance against the enemy, literally shoulder to shoulder. Perhaps the greatest motivation driving scared men into a bloody battle was the companionship of their comrades about them. It was this bond that made the Regiment, as it still does today.

Regiments needed a powerful visual symbol, which illiterate and panicking soldiers could readily identify on the battlefield. It was to this that the troops would rally.

Maybe that’s why so many were killed on the fugitives trail. Trying to catch up with Melville, who was on horseback?

Anyway doe’s anyone know when were the last time regimental colours were actually carried in to battle? And is there a reason why this tradition stopped.
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PostSubject: Re: Rally to the regimental colours   Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:36 pm

I believe the last time Regimental colours were carried into battle was during the Boer War. 28 Jan. 1881. Lt Baillie carried them and was killed doing so.

The reason they stopped carrying Regimental Colours is because they realise that the Colours provided a nice target for the Boer snipers.

But I could be wrong.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Rally to the regimental colours   Sun Sep 20, 2009 6:36 pm

I'm not sure thats right Admin. (But I will Check)
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PostSubject: Re: Rally to the regimental colours   Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:27 pm

Looks like your correct (Admin) I thought wearing a red tunic and a white helmit, was a good target as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Rally to the regimental colours   Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:48 pm

The 58th Northamptonshire Regiment carried their Colours into action at the battle of Laings Nek during the 1st Anglo-Boer War (28 Jan. 1881). The Colours provided a conspicuous target for the Boer snipers, and Lt. Baillie carrying the Regimental Colour was repeatedly wounded before being killed. This was the last time British Colours were carried in battle. There was a notable exception, however, during WWI. Princess Patricia presented a Regimental Colour in 1914 to the newly formed Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. They took it with them to France in December 1914, and on 8 May 1915 they flew it above the trenches. It was repeatedly hit by shrapnel and bullets, allegedly giving the regiment much inspiration and enabling them to hold out against overwhelming odds.

Sgt William Bridgstock: In his history of the Northamptonshire Regiment, Michael Barthorp relates the dire situation in which the 2 Northamptonshire Regiment (then known as the 58th Regiment of Foot) found itself during the battle of Laing's Nek. The 58th were to launch the main attack on the Boer left centre, with the 3/60th Rifles in reserve. From the outset the assault was ill-fated. The artillery support, which had been having good practice on the Boer positions, stopped too soon. The mounted attack failed, exposing the right flank of the infantry. Command of the 58th's attack had been assumed by Col Deane of the Staff who, being mounted, forced a gruelling pace up the steep slopes. As a result by the time the 58th had reached an area of dead ground, where they were expected to deploy for the assault, the men were exhausted. They were given no respite. The fire was murderous from front and flank. Col Deane was soon killed. Maj Hingeston, the Commanding Officer, was mortally wounded as he encouraged his men; and most of the officers became casualties. Lt Baillie fell with the Regimental Colour, saying to Peel, his fellow Ensign, 'Never mind me, save the Colours.' As Peel tried to comply he fell into an ant bear hole and Sgt Bridgstock, thinking that Peel had been killed, seized both Colours and carried them out of action. For this he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: Rally to the regimental colours   Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:25 pm

Nice one Graves1879. So that was the last time the colours were carried into battle.
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PostSubject: Re: Rally to the regimental colours   Sun Oct 11, 2009 3:19 pm

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58th Regimental Colours
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Rally to the regimental colours   Sat Oct 24, 2009 12:37 am

"The Queen's Colour which was carried off the field at Isandhlwana was cased. Nobody had an opportunity to uncase the Colours during the battle. All the British (600) and over 2000 Zulus were killed at Isandhlwana. The Colours played no role at the battle (i.e. nobody was killed because they were a conspicuous target), but the press attention to the heroics of Lts. Melvill and Coghill who attempted to save the Queen's Colour, and the Queen's desire to see it afterwards are what raised the debate about the propriety of carrying Colours in modern warfare"

Source: South Africa - Wars
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PostSubject: Re: Rally to the regimental colours   Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:34 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Rally to the regimental colours   Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:23 am

Hi All

This article comes from the Pall Mall Gazette

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PostSubject: Re: Rally to the regimental colours   Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:24 pm

"In battlefields of old Regiments would forms lines and advance against the enemy, literally shoulder to shoulder"

Amazing to think that this was STILL how British infantry advanced, at walking pace, until late 1916-1917, in the face of withering German MG fire.
Not until Roland Bradford VC introduced his revolutionary skirmishing tactics as a company commander in the DLI, reducing the casualty rate of his company by something like 95%, did this begin to change.
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PostSubject: Re: Rally to the regimental colours   Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:12 am

Here is another point of view from the period.
This appeared in the London Times on Saturday, February 15, 1879 along with other letters to the editor referencing the recent disaster at iSandlwana.

-To The Editor Of The Times-

"Regimental Colours"

Sir- Allow me through The Times to appeal to the
authorities not to allow "Colours" of Regiments to go
into the Bush Country at the Cape of Good Hope for the
future, and (I may add most earnestly) not to be carried at
all on active service, but to be kept as emblems to record
in peace the deeds of war.
I write from sad experience of the terrible anxiety and
responsibility "Colours" are in action; they require
two officers and four non-commissioned officers as a special
guard, who can ill be spared from their companies- now
more than ever. If they are killed or wounded they must
be replaced at once, which is most difficult in action.
I witnessed the slaughter of officers and non-commissioned officers
in my regiment, the 7th at the battle of the Alma.
Words cannot describe what a burden "Colours" in action are in
every sense of the word, for what? For nothing. As a point of
rally, never was a more cruel fallacy. They are neither more or less
than a point to draw a murderous fire on a regiment throughout an action.
As to the British soldier, he requires nothing to encourage him to face
death when it is his duty to do so.
Rifle Regiments have no colours.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
William Fitzgerald, Lieutenant-Colonel,
Late Captain 7th Royal Fusiliers.
2, Morpeth-Terrace, Feb 12

Regards, Jeff
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90th

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PostSubject: Rally to the Regt Colours   Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:06 am

Hi Dundeeboer.
Good one , adds an interesting perspective does it not ?.
cheers 90th. Idea
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DundeeBoer

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PostSubject: Re: Rally to the regimental colours   Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:05 am

Hi 90th,

Very interesting. Things always seem to be remembered a little differently by the fellows on the ground in the thick of it than when told years later after dinner with cigars and brandy or painted by an artist who was not there. The former not quite as romantic. Although... his last line “As to the British soldier, he requires nothing to encourage him to face death when it is his duty to do so.” Got to admit that’s good stuff!

Regards, Jeff
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Rally to the regimental colours   Sun May 20, 2012 7:21 pm

Looks like I have been reading the whole saving the colours saga wrongly.

Melville carried the queens colour to safety. Not the Regimental colours that would have been used to rally the troops. I assuming that saving the queens colours would have been far more important that the regimental colours.
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: Rally to the regimental colours   Sun May 20, 2012 8:13 pm

John

The men would rally to any colour, either regimental or Queens, it was the greatest disgrace for a regiment
to loose its colours to an enemy.




Cheers
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Rally to the regimental colours   Sun May 20, 2012 8:34 pm

Just trying to find out why one regiment found it nessesary to take the Queens colours, when the other regiment only took its regimental colour.
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