The Soul of Every Battalion
From: The Washing of the Spears; The Rise and Fall of the Zulu Nation, by Donald R. Morris, 1965
The soul of every battalion resided in the Colours. Each battalion of infantry of the line carried two gold-fringed silken standards: a Sovereign's Colour of the Union Jack charged with the Crown and the regimental title, and a Regimental Colour that matched the color of the facings and bore the regimental crest and the battle honors. They had originally served to rally units disorganized in the shock of battle, and in 1879, for the last time, they were still being taken into action. They were carried cased on the march and kept in the guard tent in camp, uncased only on Guest Night in the mess, at special ceremonies when one Colour at a time was trooped to show it to the men, and in battle. Battalions might carry their Colours for half a century and more, and when the worn fabric was hopelessly frayed, they laid them up in the regimental cathedral and were issued new ones. The loss of a Colour was a disgrace felt so keenly that officers and men would unhesitatingly risk their lives to save what Rudyard Kipling once described as something looking like "the lining of a brick-layer's hat on a chewed toothpick."
- Canadian Armed Forces: Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH) Colours section