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Digger History: an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Services.

Colours & Flags

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National Flags, Military Flags, & Queens and Regimental Colours

  • A flag is a symbol or emblem identifying a group of people.

    •  It can take many different forms and can be at many different levels. The highest level is the National flag of a country. 

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  • In the military there are also important flags. 

    • Infantry units and some others, have flags called The Queen's Colour and the Regimental Colour. 

    • These get called 'the Colours'. As a pair they are called a "Stand of Colours"

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  • Cavalry, Lancer, Light Horse and Mounted Infantry units and the armoured units that grew from them have Guidons. 

    • They are of a different shape but have the same function and command the same respect as Colours.

  • The Artillery do not have Colours or Guidons. 

    • Their Guns are considered to be their Colours.

    •  Artillery do not have Battle Honours either. 

      • Their single Honour is "Ubique" which means "Everywhere".

  • Non fighting Units do not have Colours. 

    • They may have Standards or Banners. Colours are battle flags and so are only available to fighting units.

  • The Army as a whole does not have a flag or Colours. 

    • It does have a Banner.

    • Individual Regiments have colours.

    • The Army is the guardian of the National Flag.

  • This page serves as an index to the Flags and Colours (in what ever form) on the pages listed here.

  •  Choose your area of interest and enjoy . . .

2860 Private Arthur Stanley Baker enlisted at Annandale, New South Wales, on 25 September 1916, and served with 60 Battalion, AIF. He died of wounds in France on 9 August 1918, at the age of 22. This portrait, painted in 1917, appears to have been copied from a photograph.


 

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Cloth badge in the shape of a bow-tie made for the Australian contingent to the Boer War, 1900. The surprising thing here is that the images closely resemble the Australian Commonwealth Ensign and the Australian Red Ensign (without the Federation Star) on a souvenir dated 1900. The Federation did not take place until 1901 and supposedly the Australian flag was not designed until 1901 and officially accepted in 1903.
  • Colours by any other name . . .

    • 1st Colour, (or First Colour)

    • Royal Colour, 

    • Sovereign's Colour, 

    • King's Colour, 

    • Queen's Colour 

      • all mean the same thing.

    • 2nd Colour (or Second Colour)

    • Regimental Colour

    • Battalion Colour

      • all mean the same thing


  • The Old Flag

    • Our flag bears the stars that blaze at night

    • In our southern sky of blue,

    • And a little old flag in the corner

    • That's part of our heritage, too.

  •  

    • It's for the English, the Scots and the Irish

    • Who were sent to the ends of the earth,

    • The rogues and the schemers,

    • The doers and dreamers

    • Who gave modern Australia birth.

  •  

    • And you, who are shouting to change it,

    • You don't seem to understand,

    • It's the flag of our law and our language,

    • Not the flag of a faraway land.

  •  

    • It doesn't mean we owe allegiance

    • To some forgotten imperial dream;

    • We've the stars to show where we're going,

    • And the old flag to show where we've been.


By Robin Northover

National Ensigns flown by Men of War 1896 - Original Print

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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces