Gloucestershire Regimantal Colours compressed

It is 50 years ago this week that the Gloucestershire Regimental Colours displayed proudly in Gloucester Cathedral were taken down for a spot of spring cleaning.

Consecrated on presentation and laid-up on retirement in the County War Memorial Chapel (St Edmund’s Chapel) in Gloucester Cathedral, the Colours represent the 28th and 61st Gloucestershire Regiments and were the last sets of Colours to go into battle before the practice was abandoned.

This week an article an article came to light in a ‘Backbadge’ magazine dated Summer 1966:

SPRING CLEANING A PAGE OF HISTORY

The recent redecorating of the North Ambulatory in Gloucester Cathedral presented an opportunity of taking down and dusting two old sets of Colours belonging to the Gloucestershire Regiment. Both are over 110 years old, and much of the original silk has vanished in the passage of time, but the Regimental numbers remain-the XXVIII and the LXI on their crimson shields-and the proudly-borne battle honours of the Peninsular War and Waterloo, of India and the Crimea.

 

Many other colours of the Glosters are hung in the Cathedral, but these two sets that have now been spring-cleaned have one peculiarity in common; they were the last to be actually taken into battle. Those of the XXVIII were carried at the battle of Alma in the Crimea War of 1854, and those of the LXI at the battle of Goojerat in the Sikh War of 1849.

 

The Colours of those days, each six feet square, formed such an obvious mark (which was, indeed, their original function) that as the weapons of war improved, the Colour parties of young officers and sergeants received so many casualties that the practice of carrying them into battle was abandoned.

 

The two sets of Colours along with seven Standards laid-up in the Cathedral’s North Ambulatory, (outside the County War Memorial Chapel) are believed to be the largest single concentration anywhere and having been carried as emblems of the duty of the Regiment to Sovereign and country in four separate continents over hundreds of years, they are now at rest in this peaceful space.

Chris Chatterton, Museum Director, Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum said “We are delighted that this information has come to light exactly 50 years after the last ‘Spring Clean’. The Colours carried by the Regiment are of tremendous importance to all who served under them, and the fact that these are the last Colours ever carried into battle is of incredible significance. As we remember those who fought and died on the Somme 100 years ago, these Colours are symbolic of the bravery of Soldiers of Gloucestershire who have fought and died for this country for over three centuries.”

Gloucester News Centre – http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk

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