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Duke of Kent visits Alnwick to present new colours to Royal Fusiliers

The Duke of Kent was in Northumberland on Saturday to present new colours to the 5th Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, of which he is Colonel-in-Chief. A special ceremony was held in Alnwick Castle, followed by a church service to mark the laying up of the old colours.

The Duke of Kent presented new Colours to the 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers at Alnwick Castle  on Saturday.

The Duke of Kent presented new Colours to the 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers at Alnwick Castle on Saturday.

The ceremony began with 150 soldiers from the battalion marching into Alnwick’s Old Bailey, where they were inspected by the Queen’s cousin. Captain Chris Evans from Blaydon and Second Lieutenant David Aynsley-Smyth from Stocksfield had received new colours before the battalion marched both the old and new colours through the streets and to the nearby St Michael’s Church. At the Church, the old colours were laid up in a service held by the Army’s deputy chaplain, The Venerable Peter Eagles.

“I feel really proud to have carried the new colours today,” said Lieutenant Aynsley-Smyth. “I have carried the colours before on St George’s Day in Newcastle last year. However, this is the first time I have carried them with royalty present. It has been a really good day and one I will always remember.”

Colour serjeant Mark Williams carried the old fifth battalion colours to the Church. “I feel very proud to have escorted the old fifth battalion colours on such an important day,” he said. “It has been a huge honour even though it has been quite a sad day. The old battalion colours will be laid up in St Michael’s church so we will still be able to see them.”

Colours were adopted by the Army as a way for the soldiers to locate their regiment through all the dust and smoke on the battlefield. The regimental flags were inscribed with the names of battles and former achievements and were never destroyed. When they became too old to use, the colours were simply replaced, and the old ones were laid to rest at places of significance to the regiment. Today, due to the change in warfare tactics, colours are no longer used in battle, but continue to be used for formal events.

“The colours are of enormous importance to the regiment,” said Lieutenant Colonel Karl Mace, the regiment’s commanding officer. “They are emblematic of its honours, traditions and sacrifices made over its 339-year history. The event has brought the regimental family together; cadets, regular, reservists, veterans and families and we have also been well-supported by the public. It has been a great day for us all.”

The 5th Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers are a North East based Infantry unit. The battalion is an active, deployable force and have served in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Falklands, among others. In addition, the soldiers joined the British Army Marching Guard contingent for the centenary of the battle of Gallipoli last month. Currently, four personnel are deployed on a United Nations operation in Cyprus.


Featured photo credit: Chatham House Photo credit: Nick Miller

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