A year after The London Regiment, London’s Army Reserve, was redesignated the 1st Battalion London Guards, the Battalion received its new set of Colours (Ceremonial Regimental flags) in a sacred ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Sunday, 9 July 2023. The Colours were presented by The Colonel 1st Battalion London Guards, HRH Prince Edward, the Duke of Edinburgh.
The new Colours replace those of The London Regiment, which were presented in 1997.
The traditional ceremony which is based on the format of religious services held on the battlefield for centuries, where soldiers are blessed from a makeshift altar of drums in a hollow square before going into battle, was attended by 100 soldiers from the reservist unit. They were led by their Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Chris Sykes, and music was provided by The Band of the Irish Guards.
Colours are central to the infantry and all Army Reserve Guardsmen around the Army are immensely proud of today, as is the wider family of the battalion which joined us to celebrate this presentation Lieutenant Colonel Chris Sykes, 1st Battalion London Guards
The new Colours were consecrated by the Chaplain General of His Majesty’s Land Forces: The Reverend Michael Parker, attended by Staff Chaplain, Father Ian Rogers, and the Chaplain 1st Battalion London Guards, Father Richard Terrado-Reardon.
The Colours were originally carried into the thick of battle so that soldiers could see where the rest of their regiment was at all times. They are incredibly important to every soldier who serves under them as they represent the spirt of the regiment and it is believed that they carry the essence of all those soldiers who have died since the regiment’s formation, serving the Colours.
Following the consecration, the colours were formally handed to the Battalion by His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh, who then took the salute as they were marched past with the Battalion.
The new Colours have been handmade by expert craftsman using centuries’ old techniques. They are made from heavy silk, which is richly embroidered with gold and silver thread depicting the Regiment’s cap badge and company cyphers.
Infantry units each have two Colours: The King’s Colour, which is a Union flag and symbolises the unit’s loyalty to the Crown; and a Regimental Colour, which for the 1st Battalion London Guards is red silk.
The Duke of Edinburgh, Colonel 1st Battalion London Guards, then joined the reserve soldiers, their families and association members at a celebratory reception in Wellington Barracks.
Lieutenant Colonel Chris Sykes explained: “First Battalion London Guards receiving new Colours fourteen months after its formation in 2022 cements the battalion’s place within the Household Division. Colours are central to the infantry and all Army Reserve Guardsmen around the Army are immensely proud of today, as is the wider family of the battalion which joined us to celebrate this presentation.”
The battalion has taken its place alongside our Regular Guards colleagues on every major ceremonial event, just as its predecessor, The London Regiment, did on operations for 29 years." LIEUTENANT COLONEL CHRIS SYKES,
1ST BATTALION LONDON GUARDS
“This was the culmination of three years of work in which the concept of an Army Reserve Guards battalion has achieved its intent ahead of all expectations. Since formation in May 2022, the battalion has taken its place alongside our Regular Guards colleagues on every major ceremonial event, just as its predecessor, The London Regiment, did on operations for 29 years.”
In September 2022 the 1st Battalion London Guards deployed to Italy on Exercise Roman Star working together with their Regular counterparts as equals in their new role for the first time. The joint exercise was conducted with the Italian 9th Alpini Regiment who are experts in mountain warfare.
1st Battalion London Guards has more recently mobilised personnel to support the training of Ukrainian armed forces in the UK.
During the course of their first year, soldiers from across the Battalion have served in the Middle East, Africa and the South Atlantic. As members of the Household Division, the battalion took part in the King’s Birthday Parade for the first time last month.
Later this year they will deploy to Spain, for Exercise Iberian Star, during which they will be working with the Spanish Army. Later, they will deploy to Kenya with 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. In the Autumn the Battalion has the honour of providing the Guards of Honour for the Lord Mayor of London at the Lord Mayor’s Show.