Presentation of Colours, Allahabad, 1908 Programme

The presentation of new colours is always a time of celebration in the life of any regiment and usually the new colours are presented by a member of the Royal Family or the Regiment’s Colonel in Chief. When a regiment is stationed overseas this is more problematic, luckily in India however there was a personage second only to the King who could be called upon to make the presentation, the Viceroy. In 1908 the Middlesex Regiment were presented with new colours and this little card was presented to those present at the ceremony to guide them through the ceremony which took place in 1908 at Allahabad:

The Viceroy, the Earl Minto, had already had an illustrious career including a spell as Governor of Canada before being appointed Viceroy in 1905 after the resignation of the somewhat colouful former Vicceroy Lord Curzon. During his tenure he was responsible for the 1909 Indian Councils Act, often called the Minto-Morley Reforms, which started admitting natives into the various ruling councils of India for the first time.

The inside of the card gives the order of ceremonies and it is likely that the new colours were being presented to add the battle honours won during the Boer War:

Allahbad is a city in what was the United Provinces and is now known at Uttar Pradesh. The parade ground, where the ceremony took place was part of the fort in the city and is a large open space near the centre of the city, so ideal for major military ceremonies such as this.

The colours presented included the King’s Colour and the Regimental colour in the regiments red and yellow colours and embroidered with its battle honours. The colours were immortalised in this cigarette car:

One comment

  1. Had the honour of being on parade for several Colours presentations with military pipe bands.
    As part of the drum section, we ‘piled drums’ to make the field altar for the ceremony.
    On one occasion the Bass Drummer was giving the commands as we formed the circle to commence piling our drums and then stepping away for the proceedings to continue and when he gave the sotto voce but still quite emphatic ‘attention’ command to stand up after piling them, his upper plate flew out and landed square in the middle of the top snare drum (mine, of course, story of my life).
    We stared at it in horror for a moment then I sighed and picked it up, kept it closed in my hand as we walked off and gave it back to him later. I was tempted to just leave it there and see how the Royal Representative (I can’t remember but I think it was the GG) handled it, but discretion and discipline overrode curiousity and comicality, pity.

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