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THE COLOURS of the 61st FOOT

The Colours of a British Regiment represent the spirit, traditions and continuity of that Regiment. British military history is full of tales of men laying down their lives to protect or save the Colours in battle. Bullet holes and battle damage was never repaired, borne as a mark of distinction. When new Colours were presented to a Regiment the old ones were 'laid up' often in a Regimental chapel or church. The two Colours are: the Queen's Colour (The Union Flag bearing the Battalion number and selected Battle Honours) and the Regimental Colour (a unique central device - in the Glosters' case a sphinx to commemorate their service in the Egyptian campaign of 1801, and more battle honours).

The Battle Honours of the Gloucestershire Regiment (1694 - 1994).

The Regiment had more battle honours than any other County Regiment : [Image] Egypt. Ramillies. Louisberg. Guadaloupe 1759. Quebec 1759. Martinique 1762. Havannah. St Lucia 1778. Maida. Corunna. Talavera. Busaco. Barrosa. Albuhera. Salamanca. Vittoria. Pyrenees. Nivelle. Nive. Orthes. Toulouse. Peninsula. Waterloo. Chillianwallah. Goojerat. Punjaub. Alma. Inkerman. Sevastopol. Delhi 1857. Defence of Ladysmith. Relief of Kimberley. Paardeberg. South Africa 1899-1902. Mons. Retreat from Mons. Marne 1914. Aisne 1914. '18. Ypres 1914. '15. '17. Langemarck 1914. '17. Gheluvelt. Nonne Bosschen. Givenchy 1914. Gravenstafel. St Julien. Frezenberg. Bellewaarde. Aubers. Loos. Somme 1916. '18. Albert 1916. '18. Bazentin. Delville Wood. Poziers. Guillemont. Flers-Courcelette. Morval. Ancre Heights. Ancre 1916. Arras 1917. '18. Vimy 1917. Scarpe 1917. Messines 1917. '18. Pilckem. Menin Road. Polygon Wood. Broodseinde. Poelcappelle. Passchendaele. Cambrai 1917. '18. St Quentin. Bapaume 1918. Rosieres. Avre. Lys. Estaires. Hazebrouck. Bailleul. Kemmel. Bethune. Drocourt Queant. Hindenburg Line. Epehy. Canal du Nord. St Quentin Canal. Beaurevoir. Selle. Valenciennes. Sambre. France and Flanders 1914-18. Piave. Vittorio Veneto. Italy 1917-18. Struma. Doiran 1917. Macedonia 1915-18. Suvla. Sari Bair. Scimitar Hill. Galipoli 1915-16. Egypt 1916. Tigris 1916. Kut al Amara 1917. Baghdad. Mesopotamia 1916-18. Persia 1918. Defence of Escaut. St Omer-La-Bassee. Wormhoudt. Cassel. Villers Bocage. Mont Pincon. Falaise. Risle Crossing. Le Havre. Zeten. North-West Europe 1940, '44, '45. Taukyan. Paungde. Monywa 1942. North Arakan. Mayu Tunnels. Pinwe. Shweli. Myitson. Burma 1942, '44, '45. Hill 327. Imjin. Korea 1950-51.

A History of The Colours of the 61st Regiment

1756 - No records exist of the first Colours presented to the Regiment. As 2nd Bn of the Buffs presumably Colours would have been similar to the 1st Bn.

1758 - Re-designated 61st Regiment. General Order Letter Book Vol. 360 dated 6th July 1758 describes 61st Regimental Colour: "Buff, Union in upper canton, and the rank of the Regiment on a crimson ground in the centre of the colour."

1760 - A new set of Colours presented.

1782 - Colours lost to the Spanish on the surrender of Fort St. Philip, Minorca on 5th February 1782. They were placed in the Royal Armoury, Madrid, but were later destroyed in a fire. A new set of Colours was presented 20th December 1782 on College Green, Gloucester, on the return of the Regiment from Minorca.

1805 - A set of Colours given by Colonel Hewett in Malta.


Regimental Colour carried in the Peninsula Campaign

1816-1828 - The King's Colour survived until 1923 when it perished in India. The Regimental Colour survived and was given to the Regimental Museum (above).


drawing of the 61st's Regimental Colour, c. 1830.

1828-1846 - A set of Colours that passed into the possession of the family of General Reeve (Col. of the 61st, 1852-64). It was later presented to the Regimental Museum.

1846-1864 - A set of Colours presented 13th October 1846 by Sir Harry and Lady Smith, at Cawnpore.
"They were first uncased at Ramnuggar, 22nd November 1848, the first time under fire. Several round shot had passed over the column, when old Colonel McLeod sang out, 'Uncase the Colours - load.' It would have done your heart good to hear the roar the men gave." (Colonel W.E. Deacon). During the Mutiny, the Colours were taken off their poles and kept in the paymaster's chest until the capture of Delhi. This set was retired in 1864 and placed in the Lady Chapel of Gloucester Cathedral.

1864 - A set of Colours presented 8th April 1864 at Jersey (above). These remained in use right up to the amalgamation of the 28th and 61st Regiments in 1948.


Colours, Drums and Regimental Silver

The Unused Colours

When the 28th and 61st Regiments were amalgamated in 1881 they wanted to keep their old colours bearing their traditional regimental numbers. However, in 1889 it was decided that the new white Regimental "General Service" Colour should be adopted. As the 61st's Colour was in worse condition it was decided that they would apply first. 10th May 1890 a set of new Colours was issued to the 61st by the Army Clothing Dept.

When the officers of the 28th heard about the deisgn of the new colour they decided not to request one, but to repair and keep their old set as long as possible. This angered the 61st, who felt let down. But fate stepped in. The General who was going to present the new Colours fell sick and so they were quietly put into stores and "forgotten." They remained in the stores unconsecrated and unpresented.

1952-1994 - The Colours of the 1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment. The Colours below were presented in 1952, the Regimental Colour bears a blue silk streamer with the words "Solma-Ri", this is the Unit emblem of the United States Presidential Citation, a unique award to a British Regiment. (awarded for the battle of the Imjin River, Korea in 1951).


Index                    Colours of the 28th Foot