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The Colours of the Brigade of Guards.
In Britain's Brigade of Guards (in order of seniority; Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards) the National Flag is NOT used as the base of the Sovereign's Colour, but rather as the base of the Regimental Colour. As you will see below the Sovereign's Colour is a plain silk base (usually crimson) on which is emblazoned various  Royal emblems and some of the Battle Honours of the Regiment. Note that the Canadian Governor General's Foot Guards (allied with the Coldstream Guards) have the same tradition.

Cap Star

1st Battalion - These colours are Gules (crimson) in colour and in the centre the Royal Cypher Or, within the collar of the Order of St Patrick with badge appendant proper, ensigned with the Crown and are used when mounting Queen's Guard and the Queen is in residence at Buckingham Palace These colours are The Union with a Company badge in the centre ensigned with The Crown and are used when the battalion is mounting Queen's Guard. All 22 Company badges are borne in rotation. The Badge shown on the Colours above is a Second Battalion Colour called The Crest of Ireland.

Grenadier Guards

Click Grenadier Guards Lance Corporal in Tunic Order Colours of the 1st Battalion The Queen's Colours. (far left) 

These Colours (with the exception of the fourth Battalion), are made of Crimson Silk. Each of the Battalion's Colours differ as follows: details

Grenadier Guards Lance Corporal dressed in Tunic Order Regimental Colours (above right) The Regimental Colours are a Union with a company badge in the centre, surrounded by the Imperial Crown and with below the Company numeral and the grenade fired proper, with the battle honours inscribed and the number of the Battalion in Roman Numerals in the dexter canton. An arrangement that the Company Colours should be borne in rotation on Regimental Colours, was confirmed by a Regimental Order in 1855.
It is unusual within the Household Division for a Union Flag to be issued as a King's Colour which is contrary to normal practice. 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards is one such rare occurrence.
Coldstream Guards
The new colours of The Coldstream Guards

New Colours of F Company

Battalions have two Colours. They are known as The Royal, or First (usually called the Queen's) Colour, and The Second (usually called the Regimental) Colour. The Queen's Colours for both the 1st and 2nd Battalions have a crimson background and bear the star of the Order of the Garter in the centre with the Imperial Crown above The 2nd Battalion Colour has a small Union Flag in the upper left corner. 47 Battle Honours are arranged in vertical rows on either side of the centre.
The Regimental Colours of both Battalions have as their background the Union Flag. In the centre is one of 24 Company Badges ensigned with the Imperial Crown (these Badges are borne in rotation. Again, both bear the Sphinx in base with the word ''Egypt'' superscribed. A further 47 Battle Honours are arranged in vertical rows on either side of the central Company Badge. In the upper left corner, next to the pike is the Battalion's number in Roman numerals. Each Regimental Colour has a different Company Badge in its centre.

Scots Guards

The Scots Guards were formed in 1642. Archibald the Marquis of Argyle was sanctioned to raise 10 Scottish Regiments to act as a Royal Guard for King Charles 1 during his campaign against the Irish Rebels, in the end the King did not go to Ireland but the Regiment did and remained there for seven long and ill paid years. Over the centuries the Regiment has had many names from its original 'The Scotch Life Guard Of Foot' to its present restored by Queen Victoria in 1877. 

The Regiment has served in every major war and campaign throughout the world and has earned over 90 Battle Honours. The campaigns include, the Seven Year War, American Revolution, Napoleonic War, South African War (1861-1864), World War I and II, Malaya and most recently the Falklands in 1982 and the Gulf War in 1991. Today the Regiment is still involved in Public and combat duties throughout the world.

Welsh Guards   

The Queen’s Colour, 1st Battalion. 

Gules (crimson). In the centre a dragon passant Or, underneath a scroll with motto ‘Cymru Am Byth’. The whole ensigned with the Imperial Crown.


The Regimental Colours

The Union. In the centre a Company Badge ensigned with the Imperial Crown. The fifteen Company Badges are borne in rotation.


Coldstream Guards Unfurl the Colour  

The Trooping of the Colour, which has its roots in the ceremony used for guard mounting from Horse Guards Parade, London in the eighteenth century, was first performed on a Sovereign’s birthday for King George III. Throughout Queen Victoria’s reign the Foot Guards performed this same ceremonial in honour of her birthday (24th May) and it has continued to be held ever since on a day set aside as The Sovereign’s Official Birthday. The Colour to be Trooped is brought to the parade in its protective case under close escort. Before transfer to the Ensign it is the duty of a drummer from the battalion to unfurl the Colour before it is posted on the parade.

STATE COLOURS. Some Guards Units have a third and overarching Colour called the State Colour.
King William IV is thought to have presented the Regiment with The State Colours of the Coldstream Guards. They are carried by Guards of Honour (not formed from the Queen's Guard) mounted on Her Majesty The Queen on State occasions. The State Colours are kept at Regimental Headquarters in London.

The First State Colour, which is crimson, bears the Order of The Garter and has a Sphinx in each corner. In the centre, underneath the Garter Star, on a blue scroll, is the word ''Egypt''. The Battle Honours of Lincelles, Tala Vera, Barrosa, Peninsula and Waterloo are also shown.

Life Guards (Cavalry)

Royal Colour Link to Life Guards Regimental Colour
The Life Guards, the senior Regiment in the British Army, can trace its origins back to approximately 1651. But generally the date given is 1660, at the Restoration of  King Charles II from his exile in Europe.

They first saw action at the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685, but their first battle honour is The Battle of Dettingen fought on June 16 1743.

After changes to the Army in 1788 The 1st & 2nd Life Guards Regiments were formed, from their descendants, The Horse Grenadier Guards & four Troops of the Kings Horse Guards. This period also saw the origins of today's Ceremonial uniform.

The Peninsula Campaign saw The Life Guards at home until 1812, they then joined Wellingtons army against Napoleon, as part of the Household Brigade and saw various action until the end of the campaign in 1814.

May 1815 saw the Regiment embark for Belgium after the threat of Napoleon once again spread across Europe. Their first action was in the village of Genappe on 17th seeing off the French Lancers, after they had routed the British 7th Hussars and the 23rd Light Dragoons. The following day saw the French defeated at Waterloo. The Life Guards formed part of the Household  Brigade that charged the French Cuirassiers saving the British forces from being overrun.

After the death of George III in 1820, the Blues also joined the 1st & 2nd Life Guards as the third regiment of the Household Cavalry Regiment.

Not until August 1882 did The Life Guards once more serve away from home, In Egypt. As part of the Composite Household Cavalry Regiment, they took part in the moonlight charge at Kassassin. On September 15 they again saw action at Tel-El-Kebir. 

With the Sudan in turmoil, in 1884, men from the 1st & 2nd Life Guards joined  troops from other cavalry regiments to form The Heavy Camel regiment.

The Boer War (1899/1902) in South Africa again saw the Household Cavalry Composite Regiment ready for action. The Relief of Kimberley & Paardeberg being two of the main battles.      

During World War I, the Regiment saw action at Mons, Le Château, Ypres, Loos, and Zandvoorde where two complete squadrons were wiped out. They spent their fair share of time along with other regiments in the trenches and also fought at Arras, The Somme and Cambrai. 1918 saw them as specialists with Machine Guns fighting at Bethune and The Hindenburg Line.

Disappointment for the regiment came when in 1922 the 1st & 2nd Life Guards where amalgamated to become The Life Guards (1st & 2nd)", then in 1928 to "The Life Guards".

The onset again in 1939 of World War, saw the Life Guards contribute men to the 1st Household Cavalry Regiment (1HCR), being sent to Palestine in 1940, with their horses. In 1941 the horses were relieved and replaced by 15 cwt trucks. The Regiment saw action in Iraq, Syria and Persia.  

Back in the UK the 2nd Household Cavalry Regiment (2HCR) had been formed and given Armoured Cars. 1HCR would follow suit but stay in North Africa. 1HCR took part in the Battle of El Alamein, then in the Italian campaign in 1944. 2HCR landed at Normandy in July 1944 as an armoured car regiment and spearheaded the Guards Armoured Brigade advance through France to liberate Brussels. They reached the bridge at Nijmegan and Arnhem soon after.

After World War II, the Regiment saw service in Egypt's Canal Zone, Aden, Oman, in Cyprus, Malaya, Singapore and Borneo. 

1969 saw the amalgamation of the Royal Horse Guards (the Blues) and the Royal Dragoons to become the Blues & Royals. The Royals now becoming part of the Household Cavalry Regiment.

Since the early seventies, the Regiment has done several tours of Northern Ireland and a number in Cyprus as United Nations Forces. The entire Regiment deployed to the Gulf in 1990, finishing up on the Kuwait City - Basra highway.

During the defence review in 1991, the Regiment was reduced to two reconnaissance Squadrons based at Windsor with the Blues and Royals, and one Squadron at Hyde Park to cover ceremonial duties. The Regiment has more recently had two squadrons on operational duties in Bosnia with the United Nations.

Battle Honours

  • Dettingen       

  • Peninsula        

  • Waterloo        

  • Tel el Kebir

  • Egypt        

  • Relief of Kimberley        

  • Paardeberg        

  • South Africa

  • Mons        

  • Le Cateau        

  • Retreat from Mons        

  • Marne 1914

  • Messines 1914        

  • Ypres 1914/15/17         

  • Langmarck        

  • Gheluvelt

  • Nonne Boschen        

  • St.Julian     


  • Frenzenburg        

  • Somme 1916/18

  • Albert 1916        

  • Scarpe 1917/18        

  • Broodseinde        

  • Poelcappelle 

  • Passchendaele        

  • Bapaume 1918        

  • Arras 1917/18        

  • Hindenburg Line

  • Epehy        

  • St. Quentin Canal        

  • Cambrai        

  • Selle       

  • France & Flanders 1914\18        

  • Mont Pincon        

  • Souleuvre        

  • Noireau Crossing

  • Amiens        

  • Brussels        

  • Neerpelt        

  • Nederrijn

  • Nijmegen        

  • Lingen        

  • Bentheim        

  • N.W.Europe 1944/45

  • Baghdad        

  • Iraq        

  • Palmyra        

  • Syria

  • El Alamein        

  • N.Africa        

  • Arezzo        

  • Advance to Florence

  • Gothic Line       

  •  Italy        

  • Gulf War

 A quick look at WW1 Battle Honours will show that these blokes fought alongside Aussies many times

Governor General’s Foot Guards

In keeping with the traditions of the British Brigade of Guards, the Canadian GGFG also use their National Flag as the base for their Regimental Colour NOT the Queen's Colour.

The Queen's Colour is crimson with the crest of Canada in the centre and 11 Battle Honours emblazoned on each side.

Link to GGFG


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