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The Colours and the Guidon of the Volunteers


The origin of the custom of carrying Colours goes back to the days of early man who fixed his family badge onto a pole and held aloft to indicate the position of the Chief and to act as a rallying point. Colours have since become a symbol of the spirit of a regiment, signifying the heart. They bear the battle honours and badges granted by the Sovereign in recognition of gallant deeds. This association of colours with heroic deeds has caused them to be regarded with veneration.


The Volunteers had been in existence for 66 years before they were presented with Colours. On the recommendation of Lt Col L G Bird and supported by Maj Gen C C Luard, GOC of the Colony, the proposal that the Corps should be granted Colours was forwarded to the Secretary of State for the Colonies for consideration. On 27 August 1927, His Majesty the King signified his approval.

Now the question arose of the design of the new Colours. Captain Dowbiggin suggested to Lt Col Bird that the design should be based on the Colours of the Hong Kong Regiment which were hanging inside St John's Cathedral. The Hong Kong Regiment, not to be confused with the later regiment descended from the Volunteer Corps was an Indian Regiment raised in 1891 for "General Service" under the War Office for garrison duty in Hong Kong. Although the Regiment distinguished itself and fought in Tiensin at the time of the Rebellion, the pay offered to the men was so much more than that offered to other Indian regiments that it seriously affected recruiting and the Regiment was disbanded in 1902.



Coloured designs for the new Colours were sent to England to the Royal College of Arms for approval. After some modifications, the designs were approved. The Colours were made and send out to Hong Kong. Under the auspices of Lady Clementi, a Committee of Ladies collected the money for the costs of making the Colours and they were duly presented to the HKVDC by His Excellency Sir Cecil Clementi on 6 May 1928.

These Colours were carried by the Volunteers throughout the Battle for Hong Kong in 1941. To prevent them falling into the hands of the Japanese, Lt Shrigley buried the Colours close to Fortress Headquarters. Unfortunately Lt Shrigley subsequently was killed by the Japanese without revealing the burial place.


After liberation in 1945 all efforts to trace the buried Colours failed until in 1957 when the foundations of the present United States Consulate were being dug, the remnants were found. On 14 February 1951 replacement Colours were presented to the survivors of the HKVDC and immediately handed to the Hong Kong Regiment for safe keeping. In March 1957, Her Majesty the Queen graciously awarded the Battle Honour "Hong Kong" and the honour was emblazoned on the Regimental Colour.


The HKVDC carried both a Queen's Colour and a Regimental Colour as was customary for an infantry regiment. Since 1961, the Regiment has been reorganised as a reconnaissance regiment and, in 1971, Her Majesty approved the award of a single Guidon which is traditional for a cavalry regiment. The new Guidon was presented to the Regiment by the Governor Sir David Trench on 8 May 1971. This was particularly appropriate as Sir David Trench had served in the HKVDC as an officer and at the time of the presentation was Honorary Colonel. This parade was commanded by Lt Col A T P Millen. The Queen's Colour Ensign was Lt R F Remedios MBE ED and the Regimental Colour Ensign was Lt A F Danby. It is traditional that the Guidon is carried by a Warrant Officer and carrying the new Guidon on parade for the first time was W02 C J Pintos.

At the Disbandment Parade of the Roya1 Hong Kong Regiment (The Volunteers), the Guidon will be deconsecrated and marched off parade for the last time. It will then be kept with the Volunteer Association.


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