Colours


Colours 1686 King's Colour, 1st Battalion c1820
Regimental Colour, 2nd Battalion c1820
Company Badges

Colours were carried by each company in a regiment from as early as the Civil War. The Colonel's Company was a plain one-colour ensign and the other companies had Colours with the national flag in the upper canton, for English regiments the red cross of St George on a white ground, and for Scottish regiments the white cross of St Andrew on a blue ground. At the restoration the national flag covered the whole Colour. After 1707 the union flag replaced the two national flags. After 1747 the number of Colours in the line infantry was reduced to two per regiment or battalion, with the union flag being the first of King's Colour and the regimental colour being the colour of the facings with a union flag in the upper canton.

The Guards regiments retained the pre-1747 system of having the Colonel's plain colour ensign as the King's Colour and a Colour for each company, used in rotation as a regimental Colour. Where the regiment had two or three battalions, the 1st battalion had plain crimson for the King's Colour and the 2nd and 3rd battalions had a crimson King's Colour with a union flag in the upper canton and the emblems of the Lt-Col and Major. The company, or regimental Colours were union flags with the company badge in the middle.

Colours 1650
Colonel On a blue field, His Majesty's coat of arms (Scotland, England, France and Ireland quartered without any crown over them. On the other side, in great gold letters: COVENANT FOR RELIGIONE KING AND KINGDOME.
Lieut-Colonel Silver unicorn on blue. On the other side, same lettering as Colonel's
Major Gold lion rampant on blue. On the other side, same lettering as Colonel's
1st Captain 3 fleur de lys on blue. On other side, same lettering as Colonel's
2nd Captain Golden lion rampant genelles on blue. On other side, same lettering as Colonel's
3rd Captain 3 Golden Lioncelles gradient on blue. On other side same lettering as Colonel's
4th Captain Gold harp, silver fringed, on blue. On other side, same lettering as Colonel's

Colours 1662

The Colours issued in 1662 are described as Red with a silver Cross of St Andrew on a blue field and a crowned thistle. Motto round thistle: Nemo me impune laccesit. Apparently, in 1664 the crowned thistle was replaced by the Royal coat-of-arms.

Colours 1712

When the Scots Guards were ordered to England in 1712 they were issued these emblems to be used on their company Colours. Most of them can be found on the 1899 list and are still in use today. This list is a 'translation' of a document written for the Great Wardrobe accounts by Lord Lothian who was Colonel of the regiment from 1707 to 1713. The Colonel's is the basis for the King's Colour, it was on a ground of plain crimson with crimson and gold tassels. The remaining Colours were Union flags with the emblem in the middle. The emblems were to be surmounted by a crown, and the width of the Colour was 3ft 11ins.

After 1747 the Colours of the Lieut-Colonel and Major were on a crimson ground but with a small Union flag in the upper canton.

Colours 1712
Colonel Scottish red lion rampant on yellow shield (En Ferus Hostis)
Lieut-Colonel Thistle and Rose from root (Unita Fortior)
Major Thistle with Glory (Nemo me impune laccesit)
1st Captain A seated red lion holding a sword in the right paw and a sceptre in the left (In Defence)
2nd Captain A standing red lion (Timere nescius)
3rd Captain A blue griffin rampant (Belloque Ferox)
4th Captain A phoenix in flames (Per Funera Vitam)
5th Captain Jupiter's thunderbolt (Horror ubique)
6th Captain A cannon firing (Concuss cadent urbes)
7th Captain A salamander in flames (Pascua nota mihi)
8th Captain Silver St Andrew's cross on blue shield (In hoc signo vinces)
9th Captain Silver St Andrew's cross on blue shield (Nemo me impune laccesit)
10th Captain A trophy of arms (Honoris refero)
11th Captain A dog (Intimera fide)
12th Captain A bomb with flaming fuse (Terroram)
13th Captain A red lion rampant (Intrepidus)
14th Captain St Andrew in glory with thistle (Pendale)
15th Captain St Andrew in glory with thistle (Nemo me impune laccesit)

Colours 1899

This list was taken from Records and Badges of the British Army by H M Chichester and G Burges-Short (published 1900). It will help to identify any Company Colours of the 18th and 19th century as most of the Company badges described have histories dating back much further than 1899. However, the badge of O Company may only date from 1883 when the Duke of Connaught became Colonel of the regiment.

1st Battalion
Right Flank Company Royal Crest of Scotland on silver shield (In Defence)
B Company Grenade (Terrorem affero)
C Company Red Lion Rampant (Intrepidus)
D Company Badge of the Order of the Thistle pendant to a thistle (Nemo me impune lacessit)
E Company Red Lion passant guardant on golden shield (Timiere nescius)
F Company Blue Griffin on golden shield (Belloque ferox)
G Company Salamander in flames (Per funera vitam)
Left Flank Company Winged Thunderbolt and lightnings (Horror Ubique)

2nd Battalion
Right Flank Company Cannon Firing (Concussae cadent urbes)
K Company Lizard (Pascua nota mihi)
L Company St Andrew's Cross on blue shield (In hoc signo vinces)
M Company Trophy of Arms (Honores praefero)
N Company Spaniel dog on golden shield (Intaminata fide)
O Company The Label of the Duke of Connaught (Te duce vincimus)
P Company Galley of Lorne on silver shield (Ne obliviscaris)
Left Flank Company Rose and Thistle dimidiated and conjoined (Fecit eos en gentem)


Regimental details




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by Stephen Luscombe