The Royal Irish Regiment

Regimental Colour 1892

The regiment received new Colours in 1886 which were to include the new battle honour NILE 1884-5 as well as the honours TEL-EL-KEBIR and EGYPT 1882. Also, in 1882 permission was granted for regiments that served at BLENHEIM RAMILLIES OUDENARDE and MALPLAQUET to include these honours on their Colours. The Colours were presented to the regiment on the 7th Sep 1886 at Devonport, by Lady Albertha Edgcumbe and , for the first time, consecrated by a Roman Catholic priest. But they were destroyed when the officer's mess caught fire in Colchester on 31st July 1891.

A new set of Colours were embroidered and presented to the regiment at Curragh by Lady Wolseley, wife of the new Colonel-in-Chief, on 14th Nov 1892. It is surprising to see the Union Flag in the canton because a regulation of 1881 authorised that the Union Flag should not be used on the Regimental Colours of infantry regiments. However, the Colour seen here on this cigarette card is very similar to the 1845 Colour, with the addition of 10 battle honours. The honours are illegible in this illustration but we may assume that the 4 honours for the Marlborough wars are on the left, with EGYPT and Sphinx below. And the honours PEGU SEVASTOPOL NEW ZEALAND and AFGHANISTAN 1879-80 are on the right with the new Egyptian honours just above CHINA and the Dragon. The battle honour NAMUR 1695 was not granted until Feb 1910, so does not appear on this Colour, although the motto includes a reference to the battle.

The central device is a red circle with THE ROYAL IRISH inscribed around the Erin maid harp badge. The Union wreath of roses, thistles and shamrocks surrounds this and Queen Victoria's crown surmounts it. The regimental motto is on a three-part scroll below: VIRTUTIS NAMURCENSIS PRAEMIUM. In the other three corners are the escutcheons of the arms of Nassau. The description of the Regimental Colour in 'Records and Badges of the British Army' by Chichester and Burges Short, does not include the Union Flag but says that the battalion number is in the upper corner near the flag-staff.

Regimental Details | Colours


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by Stephen Luscombe