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 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.”
“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.”