Regimental Colours, Banners, and Flags Past and Present
"A moth-eaten rag on a worm-eaten pole,
It does not look likely to stir a man's Sole,
'Tis the deeds that were done 'neath the moth-eaten rag,
When the pole was a staff, and the rag was a flag."
-Sir Edward Hamly on seeing some old Colours of the 32nd Foot in Monmouth Church
Today, Regimental Colours are the visible memorials to great deeds of a regiment, and symbols of its spirit as expressed in those deeds. Colours are no longer carried on active service, as their battlefield function has long since disappeared; but when they were, they became the rallying point of a regiment and acts of heroic self-sacrifice were often performed in their defence.
The history of distinctive symbols to identify military units is as old as war itself. They were carried in the ancient armies of Egypt, Macedonia, Greece, and Rome. In the armies of Japan and China they were more colourful, as they usually took the form of a flag or banner.
The term Regimental Colour is descriptive of the infantry flags which evolved in the British Army, and refers to the two flags of a battalion, the senior of which is called the King's (or Queen's) Colour, and the junior, the Regimental Colour. Together, they are referred to as a stand of colours.
This regulation of design, with modifications, is still the basis of the design of Regimental Colours in the British Army today. The design of colours in the Canadian Army now use the National Flag of Canada as the Queen's Colour (with the exception of Regiments of Guards.)
Today, it is the custom to place on colours the names of distinctive battles in which the Regiment took a prominent part.
The Lincoln and Welland Regiment has a history dating back to the American Revolution and Butler's Rangers, from which the nucleus of the new militia in Upper Canada was drawn. During the first two hundred and eleven years there have been countless reorganizations of the Militia, with name changes and changes in Regimental boundaries. With those changes came the presentation of a great number of Regimental Colours, some still in existence today. The following is a list of colours know to have been presented to the Regiment in all its permutations.
By 12 October 1955, new colours had been designed for the Regiment, but the design of the Regimental Colour carried only the Battle Honours from the First World War, so that presentation of colours was delayed until the Battle Honours from the Second World War were approved in 1957. Fifteen honours were approved for emblazonment, five from the First World War, and ten from the Second World War.
Her Majesty The Queen nominated Colonel, The Honourable John Keiller MacKay, DSO, VD, QC, LLD, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, as her representative to present the colours at Queenston Heights, 23 May 1959. Four one-hundred man Guards under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James L. Dandy, DSO, CD, where on parade, and receiving the Queen's Colour was Lt. J.P. Tyminksi and the Regimental, 2 Lt R.W. Yorke.