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DateOriginal Topic
17th March 2002Regimental Colours At Isandlwana
By Michael George
Everyone knows what happened to the Queen's Colour at Isandlwana, but can someone tell me what happend to the Regimental Colours At the Battle?
17th March 2002Glenn Wade
Michael, I am quite possitive that the regimental colours of the 1st battalion were left in Helmaaker or somewhere in Natal. C Fripps' and A De Neuvilles' painting are inaccurate. Bye! Glenn
17th March 2002John Young

Glenn is correct in saying the 1st/24th's Regimental Colour was at Helpmekaar.

However, both the Regimental & Queen's Colours of the 2nd/24th were in the camp at Isandlwana. Only one staff, a crown and a colour case were ever recovered on different occasions.

John Young,
Anglo-Zulu War Research Society.
17th March 2002Lee Stevenson
Can any sensible reason be offered as to why the 1st/24th's Regimental Colours had been left at Helpmakaar ??
18th March 2002Martin Everett
Isn't funny - de Nueville's painting was exhibited soon after the Zulu War (1881) and was called 'Saving the Colours' and every bit of literature says Mevill and Coghill save the Queen's Colours - they actually saved the Queen's Colour. The correct term is the Queen's Colour (ie the Union Colour) and the Regimental Colour. The two together are 'The Colours' or you can refer to the two together as 'A stand of Colours'. To answer Lee there is nothing in the Regimental Records. I can only suggest that it was because there were two Companies of 1/24th left at Helpmekaar.
3rd May 2005Mike McCabe
Though de Neuville's picture might be said to be hopelessly romanticised, in showing a Regimental colour, it is not beyond possibility - though the decision to uncase any Colour(s), would have been a decision for the Commanding Officer, or his substitute. In the circumstances it is unlikely, though not impossible, that such a decision might have been taken by Lt Pope. Realistically, Pope might also not have known that the Bn's two Colours were still in camp. However, no sensible officer would have uncased a Colour in close combat unless they could have been properly guarded within a close tactical formation or been used to provide a rallying point in extremis. It's also no quick or spontaneous action, and requires some degree of premeditation - and a properly organised body of officers and men to carry and guard one or more Colours. And, carrying an unfurled Colour over broken ground is no easy thing.
Col Glynn was probably just being very sensible in leaving the Regimental Colour at Helpmekaar. He did not need two Colours forward for any tactical reason and, had the 1st Bn been required to find a guard of honour for any reason while its main body was forward, then the Queen's Colour had the interesting advantage of not being required to be lowered in salute to anybody but the Sovereign, or the Viceroy of India. Besides, he would also retain the option of forming a complete Bn 'Wing' on the two Coys of 1st/24th still on the line of march, should he be required to operate them as 'Half Bns'. Glynn is also said to have received the Colur as Ensign when it was first presented and, as the 'Senior' Colour, its proper place was where he could keep an eye on it and ensure its safety. There was also nowhere else to leave the Colours in the event - custom and practice being what it was in those days.

3rd May 2005John Young

If only that little tale about Glyn being the ensign were true, but if people keep hearing it from an acknowledged authority then we'll have to accept it as fact.

The Colours of the 1st/24th were presented on 21st June, 1866, at the Curragh by the Countess of Kimberley, the wife of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The part played in the ceremony by Majors Richard Thomas Glyn & Richard Travers was to hand the new colours to the Countess, who in turn presented them to the ensigns.

I recently picked up an engraving of the event from the I.L.N., together with its accompanying text describing the event.

John Y.