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Scots Guards receive new Regimental Colours

19 May 2017

Her Majesty The Queen, Colonel-in-Chief Scots Guards, has presented new Colours to the 1st Battalion Scots Guards and F Company Scots Guards in the Gardens of Buckingham Palace.

The presentation of new Colours is a rare honour for all soldiers and officers involved and this new set of Colours is the first the company has received since 2002.

The Queen inspected the parade and presented the new Colours to The 1st Battalion and F Company Scots Guards. During the formal Colours’ ceremony, the old Colours of the 1st Battalion and F Company Scots Guards were marched off parade and replaced with the new Colours, incorporating the regiment’s battle honours. These were then blessed by Her Majesty.

HRH The Duke of Kent, Royal Colonel of the Regiment, met serving and retired soldiers and their families at the Garden Party that followed.

Regimental Lieutenant Colonel, Brigadier Harry Nickerson said: “It is both an honour and a privilege for the Scots Guards to be presented with New Colours by Her Majesty The Queen. It reaffirms the regiment’s long history of service for the Royal Household, dating back to 1642. On the battlefield, the regiment continues to excel while also maintaining a permanent ceremonial footprint in London and this is testament to the continuing professionalism and duty of every man in the regiment.”

Colours are the Regimental Flags of the British Army. They were originally used as rallying points on the battlefield. From the reign of Queen Anne every regiment was awarded two colours: the Queen’s Colour and the Regimental Colour. In the Guards Regiments, the Queen’s Colour is crimson silk and the Regimental Colour is the Union Flag. Both carry the most notable of the regiment’s 93 battle honours.

This is a particularly important day for the regiment as it reaffirms its long connection with the Royal Household. Although referred to as the Third, or Scots, Regiment of Foot Guards, the Scots Guards were in fact the first of the Foot Guards Regiments to be formed. In 1642 Charles I instructed Archibald, 1st Marquis of Argyll, to form a Regiment. The Scots Guards have gone on to fight in nearly every major campaign undertaken by the British Army. This included Egypt in 1801, for which it received the first battle honour ever to be bestowed upon the British Army; Waterloo; the Crimea, at which a Scots Guardsman was the first Army recipient of a Victoria Cross; the Boer War and both World Wars.

Her Majesty’s association with the Scots Guards dates back to her Coronation, when she became Colonel-in-Chief of the Scots Guards. She first presented New Colours to the Scots Guards to the 2nd Battalion at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in 1965 and last presented them with New Colours in her Golden Jubilee year in 2002. Colours were last carried into action by the 58th Foot in South Africa in 1881. Up to that time they participated in all the varying fortunes of their regiment; often torn by enemy fire they acquired an almost religious significance. Colours are always carried by an officer and accompanied by an armed escort.

The Scots Guards, world renowned for ceremonial roles such as Changing the Guard and Trooping the Colour, are first and foremost operational fighting soldiers, they pride themselves on their long and distinguished fighting heritage, and are also a loyal family Regiment. Over the last 375 years the Regiment has produced formidable soldiers principally from Scotland, but also from across the North of England. In recent times the Regiment has fought with distinction in Malaya, the Falklands, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. Its soldiers have been awarded 11 Victoria Crosses.

The 1st Battalion Scots Guards is based in Aldershot, Hampshire and as the Mechanised Infantry Battalion of the Guards Division it is held at high readiness, permanently assigned to 12th (Armoured Infantry) Brigade within 3rd (UK) Division.

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