Laying-Up of the old Colours, Stirling Castle

1st Battalion The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise’s) and The 3rd Battalion 51st Highland Volunteers ( The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders), Sunday 3rd July 2011

By Major R Elliot, BEM

 

On Saturday 2nd July 2011, Her Majesty The Queen Colonel-in-Chief, presented New Colours to all but the 4th Battalion of The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Six guards, each consisting of 76 rank and file, together with the Massed Bands of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, paraded in Holyrood Park. Of the ten sets of Old Colours to be marched off were the Old Colours of the 1st Battalion The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise’s) and the 3rd Battalion 51st Highland Volunteers which resulted in the laying up of both sets of Colours the following day at Stirling Castle after a Service at the Church of the Holy Rude in Stirling.  The associations between The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the Church of the Holy Rude and the City of Stirling are long established.  The Service was conducted by The Reverend Allan Miller BA MA BD and Padre Stewart A MacKay BA BD (Hons) CF, the Guard of Honour, Pipe Band and Colour Parties was furnished by The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland and 51st Highland, 7th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

The Old Colours were escorted from the Church to Stirling Castle by the Honour Guard commanded by the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Adam Griffiths MBE. This included our Veterans from the Regimental Association, many of whom served under the Colours, as Argylls marched with pride under blue skies to be received by the Representative Colonels of both Battalions, Brigadier Charles Grant OBE on behalf of 51st Highland, 7th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland and Colonel Bruce Russell MBE on behalf of The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland. The Colours from both Battalions were received by both Representative Colonels and passed to Colonel A K Miller CBE and Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm McVittie who received the Old 1st Battalion Colours and Colonel Eric Ostman TD and Colonel Bobby Steele DL who received the Old Colours of 3/51 HIGHLAND after which all Colours were taken into the Regimental Museum where they are now proudly on display.

The Colours of the 1st Battalion The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise’s) laid up in Home Headquarters at Stirling Castle were presented by Her Majesty The Queen, Colonel-in Chief, at Redford Barracks, Edinburgh on 1st July 1996.  The Colours consist of The Queens Colour, (with the background of the Union Flag) and the Regimental Colour, both with roman numerals ‘1’ denoting the number of the Battalion.  The Battle Honours authorised to be borne on the Colours of the Regiment mark the principal campaigns in which the Battalions of the Regiment have taken part.  Those awarded before 1914 are embroidered on the Regimental Colour of which ‘Balaklava’ has foremost significance in the Regiment’s history. Of those won by the various Battalions of the Regiment in the First World War (1914 – 1918), ten selected names are borne on The Queens Colour; and ten others selected from those of the Second World War (1939 – 1945) are also there, together with Korea 1950 – 51.

The Colours of the 3rd Battalion, 51st Highland Volunteers (The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) were presented by Her Majesty The Queen at Stirling Castle on 26th July 1986.   The Regimental Colour, in purple and green, represents the links to the famous 51st Highland Division and to the long succession of Territorial Army Battalions that have borne the name of The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.  The 3rd Battalion was the direct successor to the 7th (Stirlingshire) and 8th (Argyllshire) Battalions who were disbanded in 1967.  This led to the formation of the 51st Highland Volunteers into which were absorbed the Stirling and Grangemouth Companies of the 7th, and the Dumbarton Company of the 8th Battalions.  In 1971 a second Battalion of the 51st Highland Volunteers was formed, and then in 1975 the 3rd Battalion was raised.  After a further reorganisation in 1981 the Argyll Battalion was reconstituted and became known as the 3rd Battalion, 51st Highland Volunteers (The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders). Following the end of the Cold War the Territorial Army was reduced in size and the 3rd Battalion was disbanded in 1999 with elements reformed into 51st Highland Regiment.

After the Colours were escorted into the Museum, Colonel Bruce Russell addressed the parade with a speech. This historical occasion finished with a reception being held in the Museum. A very special thanks goes to Colonel A K Miller CBE who pulled the events of the day to a most successful conclusion, to Lieutenant Colonel Adam Griffiths and to the Staff at Home Headquarters.

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