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Flags at Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum (United Kingdom)

Last modified: 2012-03-16 by rob raeside
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The 28th Regiment of Foot (North Gloucestershire Regiment) - ca. 1800

The Glorious Glosters

[28th Regiment of Foot, ca. 1800] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 10 November 2010

The flag is kept in a tray displaying the reverse. Though looking beige, it should be according to the timeline section in www.glosters.org a light yellow flag having a pre-1801 version of the Union Canton (i.e. without St. Patrick's Cross). In its centre is a padded red shield fimbriated golden with a golden inscription "XXVIII(1st line) REG(2nd line)" surrounded by a Union Wreath also in pre-1801 version (i.e. without any trefoils). The sleeve of the flag also is light yellow.
Source: I spotted this flag in Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum on 1 October 2010
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 10 November 2010

Normally one would translate "light yellow" as 'buff', but by co-incidence I have a copy of Lady Butler's famous painting "The 28th Regiment at Quatre Bras" hanging in my flat, and (although no proof of course) the picture shows the troops with (what appears to be standard) yellow facings and a yellow regimental colour.
Christopher Southworth, 10 November 2010

The facings and Regimental Colour of the 28th Foot were yellow (not light yellow) from at least the mid-18th century to 1881.
T.F. Mills, 10 November 2010

According to the museum's warden it should indeed be buff, and to be honest, both colours, i.e. 28th (North) and 61th(South) look like the have exactly the same colour after 200 years. That doesn't mean a thing. For example, flags of the Hamburg sentinels (Bürgerwache) all look beige today, although in fact being either (olive)green, light blue or yellow.

Studying the timeline section of the website, there should however be a clear distinction between light yellow and buff(61st). I am not sure, whether I could remix the colour light yellow properly, I took RGB(253/237/45) which is the best match I could find. After amalgamation both battalions had the same colour primrose yellow.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 10 November 2010

The Army List for 1819 (four years after Quatre Bras) gives the facings of the 28th Foot as pale yellow. Available on Google Books at http://books.google.com/books?id=7ecNAAAAQAAJ. And, closer to the date of the flag, the 1870 edition says yellow.
Joe McMillan, 12 November 2010

Detail of Shield and Wreath

[Detail of 28th Regiment of Foot, ca. 1800] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 10 November 2010

If something is looking like a trefoil, it isn't. According to Ian Sumner you see three small rose leaves.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 10 November 2010

Regimental colour - ca. 1880

[Detail of 28th Regiment of Foot, ca. 1800] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 November 2010

The ratio is 13:12. It is a light yellow flag having a post-1801 version of the Union Canton (i.e. with St.Patrick's Cross). In its centre there is a red disc fimbriated golden with a golden circular inscription "North Gloucestershire" and a golden Roman numeral XXVIII in the centre of the disc. The shield is surrounded by an Union Wreath and topped by a royal crown in natural colours. The sleeve is red. Beneath the wreath is a chief battle honour device showing a golden sphinx flanked by a green laurel wreath and topped by two blue ribbons with names of battlefields. The ribbon next to the sphinx is slightly bigger containing the inscription EGYPT. There are another seven battle honours ordered vertically at the hoist side and another eleven at the fly-end. The battle honours as far, as I can recognize them are always from top to bottom:
Hoist: Corunna, Albufera, Pyrenees, Nive, Peninsula, Alma, unrecognizable.
Flyend: unrecognizable, Ramillieu, Louisburg, unrecognizable, unrecognizable, Vitoria, Nivelle, Orthes, Waterloo, Inkerman, unrecognizable
Beneath disc: Sevastopol, Egypt.
The flag is fringed golden at three sides.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 November 2010

Queen's colour - ca. 1880

[Queen's Colour of 28th Regiment of Foot, ca. 1800] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 November 2010

The ratio is 13:12. It is a Union Flag fringed golden with a royal crown upon the upper half of the vertical bar of the St. George's Cross and a golden Roman numeral XXVIII upon the centre of the horizontal bar.

My image is based upon an illustration about the Boer War. I think the 1st Boer War (1880-1881) is meant, especially because the 28th and the 61st had been merged in 1881 forming then 1st and 2nd Bn., The Gloucestershire Regiment

Source: I spotted this image in Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum on 1 October 2010.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 12 November 2010


The 61st Regiment of Foot (South Gloucestershire Regiment)

Regimental colour - ca. 1800

[61st Regiment of Foot, ca. 1800] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 10 November 2010

The flag is borne by an ensign (which is of course made of wax). It is a buff flag having a pre-1801 version of the Union Canton (i.e. without St. Patrick's Cross). In its centre is a padded red shield fimbriated golden with a golden inscription "LXI(1st line) REG(2nd line)" with four short green sprouts hanging down from the points. The shield surrounded by an Union Wreath but in post-1801 version (i.e. with trefoils). The sleeve of the flag also is buff. Beneath the wreath is a chief battle honour device showing a golden sphinx with an embowed golden inscription EGYPT all in a red disc being surrounded by a green laurel wreath.

In this flag are contradictions, the details don't fit with one another. Either the canton or the two central devices shouldn't be on this flag. The cantons without St. Patrick's Cross were officially abolished in 1801, so were the Union Wreaths without having trefoils. I quote Ian Sumner: "The solution that was most often adopted was for the colonel to arrange to have the trefoils added to an existing colour. So trefoils often appear in rather cramped positions. In the British Army of the time, the colonel of the regiment paid for the colours out of his own money, so some definitely liked to get their money's worth out of the flags before they had to replace them."
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 10 November 2010

Detail of Battle Honour Device

[Detail of 61st Regiment of Foot, ca. 1800] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 10 November 2010

The battle honour device is the more serious problem. According to www.glosters.org, 21 March 1801 the day of the battle of Alexandria was celebrated as Back Badge Day. Ian Sumner however assured me, that the award was given later on 6 July 1802: "Battle honours were still an unusual thing to give to regiments, so individual regiments could not anticipate an award like that."

So the conclusion might be that the flag having these details can't be dated before 1802.
Source: I spotted this flag in Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum on 1 October 2010
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 10 November 2010

Regimental Colour: 1864 - ca. 1900

[Detail of 61st Regiment of Foot, ca. 1900] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider and Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 11 November 2010

The ratio is 12:13. It is a buff flag having a post-1801 version of the Union Canton (i.e. with St. Patrick's Cross). In its centre there is a red disc fimbriated golden with a golden circular inscription "South Gloucestershire" and a golden Roman numeral LXI in the centre of the disc. The shield is surrounded by an Union Wreath and topped by a royal crown in natural colours. This flag has no sleeve. Beneath the wreath is a chief battle honour device showing a golden sphinx flanked by a green laurel wreath and topped by two blue ribbons with names of battlefields. The ribbon next to the sphinx is slightly bigger containing the inscription EGYPT. There are another six ribbons ordered vertically at the hoist side and at least another seven at the fly-end. The flag is fringed golden at three sides.

The number of ribbons at the fly end can't be guaranteed.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 November 2010

I think Klaus-Michael's source is at fault here. The crown should be the Imperial State Crown - although looking at a photo, the arches of the crown are quite rounded (which may be the fault of the manufacturer, or simply the angle the photo is taken from). The crowns were not altered retrospectively.

The colours are those presented to the 61st in Jersey on 8 April 1864, and used by them and (from 1881) by 2nd Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment until 1947, when they were laid up in Gloucester Cathedral. The battle honours at the hoist were (top to bottom): Maida, Salamanca, Nivelle, Orthes, Peninsula, Chillianwallah, South Africa 1899-1902. Slightly towards the fly was a single scroll Paardeberg. Across the knot of the wreath was the honour Egypt, with the Sphinx below the knot. The honours in the fly are Busaco, Guadaloupe 1759, Talavera, Pyrenees, Nive, Toulouse, Goojerat, Punjaub, Relief of Kimberley.
Ian Sumner, 11 November 2010

The date on the picture is 1864.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 November 2010

Queen's Colour: 1864 - ca. 1900

[61st Regiment of Foot, ca. 1900, Queen's Colour] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 November 2010

The ratio is 12:13. It is an Union Flag fringed golden with a royal crown upon the upper half of the vertical bar of the St. George's Cross and a golden Roman numeral LXI upon the centre of the horizontal bar. The LXIst preferred using Roman numerals. Image is based upon an illustration about the Boer War.
Source: I spotted this image in Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum on 1 October 2010 - note that the illustration of the Queen's Colour showed the reverse. I presume the obverse would be the same.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 11 November 2010

The date on the picture is 1864.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 November 2010


1st Battalion - The Gloucestershire Regiment

Regimental Colour - 1952

[1st Battalion - The Gloucestershire Regiment - Regimental Colour - 1952] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 14 November 2010

The ratio is 4:5. It is a primrose yellow flag fringed golden and sleeved red. In the upper hoist corner is a golden Roman numeral "I". In the centre is a red disc showing the battle honour device, a golden sphinx being surrounded by a green wreath of laurel. The disc is surrounded by a Union Wreath, fixed by a red ribbon at its bottom. It is surrounded by another wreath of laurel showing the battle honours of the former regiment, fifteen on either side and another one at the bottom. A blue streamer is fixed at the pole having a golden inscription "SOLMA-RI KOREA". It is the Unit emblem of the US Presidential Citation, which had been awarded for the battle at Imjin River in 1951. It is a unique award to a British unit.

Source: I spotted this image in Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum on 1 October 2010
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 14 November 2010

Queen's Colour - 1952

[1st Battalion - The Gloucestershire Regiment - Queen's Colour - 1952] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 November 2010

The ratio is 4:5. It is a Union Flag fringed golden and sleeved red. In the centre is a red disc with an embowed golden inscription "THE GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT" and a golden Roman numeral in the centre of the disc. The disc is topped by a royal crown.

The battle honours of the former regiment are placed upon the horizontal bar of the St. George's Cross, two columns of five at the hoist and the same number at the fly. The honours on the Queen's Colour are:
First Column - Mons, Lys, Sari Bair, Mont Pinçon, Paungde
Second Column - Ypres 1914, '15, '17, Selle, Baghdad, Falaise, Pinwe
Third Column - Loos, Vittorio Veneto, Defence of Escaut, N.W. Europe 1940, '44, '45, Myitson
Fourth Column - Somme 1916, '18, Doiran 1917, Cassel, Taukyan, Burma 1942, '44, '45
The regiment does have more honours than those shown, but regulations permits them only to display ten (chosen by the regiment) from each World War, i.e. 20 in total, on the colours. Both sides are identical. For this purpose, honours like the one for Ypres, although it is actually three separate honours (one for 1914, one for 1915 and one for 1917), counts as one because it's all displayed on one scroll. There are however 42 honours in total.

Source: I spotted this image in Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum on 1 October 2010
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 November 2010

Army Order 338 of 1922 limited regiments to displaying ten battle honours from the First World War on the King's Colour, the ten to be chosen by the regiment concerned.
Army Order 1 of 1956 limited regiments to ten battle honours from the Second World War, the ten to be chosen by the regiment concerned.
Amendment 5/June/69 to Clothing Regulations Pamphlet No.14 Instructions relating to standards, guidons and colours 1964, Clause 17 permitted amalgamated regiments to bear more than twenty battle honours on the Queen's Colour.
Material Regulations for the Army, Volume 3 Clothing, Pamphlet No14 (1972, revised 1983) para 217 refers simply to 'a selection of the battle honours in respect of the Great War and Second World War', without giving a number.
Battle honours from other conflicts are borne on the Regimental Colour without any limitations as to number. The corresponding Regimental Colour has a total of thirty-six honours.

The Gloucesters was one of the Army's few unamalgamated regiments until 1994. The 1994 King's Colour of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment has forty-three honours.
Ian Sumner, 16 November 2010

The Queen's Colour. On Tom Gregg's pages both colours are depicted in a slightly different way (colour of inner wreath here) and number of battle awards upon the QC. I am trusting however in my photo. I guess, both are indeed the1952 colours due to the fact that the US streamer is denoted by Tom as a "unique" award.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 14 November 2010

The St Edward's Crown (which is the one shown) was only authorized (by H.M The Queen) for use on flags in 1953, and if the date is indeed "1952" the colour should display a Tudor Crown as introduced (by King Edward VII) in 1901.
Christopher Southworth, 14 November 2010

It is not for sure, that these flags are dated 1952. Christopher says that the type of crown was introduced by HM the Queen not before 1953 and he is probably right. So the flag shown on Tom's pages might be a forerunner.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 November 2010

Brief history:
On 16 February 1694 Sir John GIBSON, Lt. Governor of Portsmouth, was tasked to raise a new regiment on foot. This was the birth of the 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment. Due to the treaty of Ryswick on 20 September 1697 it was disbanded. Only the garrison in New Foundland remained until the regiment was raised again in 1702. In 1734 Philipp Bragg became colonel of the regiment and served as its chief for 25 years until his death in 1759. Therefore the regiment gained the nickname "Old Braggs".

In 1756 at the eve of Seven-Years-War and war against France in India and Northern America new regiments were needed. One of them was the 3rd Regiment on Foot, also known as "The Buffs". Its 2nd battalion in 1758 became a regiment of its own, the 61st (South Gloucestershire) Regiment.

In 1871 by Regularization of the Forces Act both regiments, together with volunteer companies and county militia battalions were linked. In 1881 a reform implemented by Hugh Childers re-structured the regiments and they became 1st Battalion (= 28th) and 2nd Battalion (= 61st), The Gloucestershire Regiment. The facings of their red coats were light yellow (28th) and buff (61st). So were the Regimental Colours. The reform however caused changes, all English and Welsh regiments were ordered to use coats having white facings, the Scottish regiments blue and finally the Irish green. Many old soldiers however refused the changes in organization and outfit and especially the 61st just didn't use the new uniforms and colours, for so much pride was derived from the individual different colours. In 1929 both colours, light yellow and buff, finally were replaced by a compromise. Both battalions now gained primrose yellow instead. But they never forgot being "for real" the 28th and the LXIst (preferring Roman numerals) until 1948.

After the end of WWII The Gloucestershire Regiment had, like many others, the choice between amalgamation of its both battalions or disbanding one of them. They chose the first variant, and so finally in Jamaica on 21 September 1948 was celebrated the birth of the new 1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment (28th/61st).

In 1994 the regiment merged with Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment (Berkshire and Wiltshire) forming the new Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment and on 1 February 2007 became part of The Rifles, an amalgamation of the following units: Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, Light Infantry, Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry and finally Royal Green Jackets.

All the details about the "Gloster's" service can be found here: http://www.glosters.org.uk/textonly_timeline.php

Finally a refrain from a ballad about the Glosters:

We are the Glorious Gloucesters, famed for our attack
In Korea and Alexandria fighting back to back
When we have served our country and answered the trumpet's call
Send us back to Gloucestershire most glorious land of all.

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 15 October 2010
information about battle honours by Ian Sumner

The Glorious Glosters is a song by Johnny Coppin, apparently commissioned by the regiment itself. Those who would like to hear the melody and the complete text can find it here: http://www.youtube.com/v/PiLEuklLt4o. Also, in that video's first image, when it plays, Queens Colours can be seen.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 15 November 2010


Royal Gloucestershire Yeomanry Cavalry

Standard of Gloucester City Troop 1797

[Standard of Gloucester City Troop 1797] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 November 2010

The sheet is made of white silk fringed golden and covered with embroideries made of golden and silver brocade. The shield is topped by a royal crown (without cross). In the centre is a padded shield of Gloucester flanked by two golden creepers with black berries and a silver ribbon beneath the shield containing the motto "PRO PATRIA" in black capitals. The shield is also flanked by four smaller ovals on both sides of the standard. On the reverse two ovals contain the prancing horse of Hannover with basement (upper fly and lower hoist) but sinister facing; the others contain embowed inscriptions: "ROYAL GLOUCESTER Y C" upon reddish silk. It is a flag of the forerunners of the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars and it seems to be the same with Cotswold Guidon. This flag was not in the exhibition but its central part can be seen at the flag section of www.glosters.org . Due to the sinister facing horses the museum agreed to my two assumptions that the image is showing the reverse and the shape would be the same like that one of the Cotswold Guidon.
Source: www.glosters.org
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 18 November 2010