The Minute Book
Saturday, 22 November 2014

Laying Up Colours, 1898
Topic: Tradition

Surrender of Colours

Grenadiers Will Yield Their Flags Into the Hands of the Church

The Mail and Empire, Toronto, 10 November 1898

An interesting and impressive military ceremony will take place on Sunday afternoon, when the old and honoured colours of the Royal Grenadiers will be deposited in St. James' cathedral. The religious exercises appropriate to such an occasion will be conducted by Bishop Sullivan. Last year, it will be remembered, the ladies of Toronto presented the regiment with new colours, which will wave over the volunteers in future, while the old flags, which have been in use for thirty years, will hang on either side of the chancel in St. James'. The Grenadiers will assemble in the Armouries on Sunday afternoon, and a short semi-military service will be held. They will then march to the cathedral and give their colours into the hands of Bishop Sullivan.

This will be the first time that such a ceremony has taken place in Toronto, and the fourth occasion of the kind in the military history of Canada. Colours have previously been deposited in Halifax, Quebec, and Montreal, and great interest has always been shown in the proceedings.

The Royal Grenadiers; A Regimental History of the 10th Infantry Regiment of the Active Militia of Canada

By Captain Ernest J. Chambers (Corps of Guides), 1904

November 13th, 1898, is a date possessing special interest for the Royal Grenadiers, as the one upon which the regiment deposited their old colors with all due honor in St. James' Cathedral. The presence of his Lordship the Bishop of Toronto, the Rector, the Right Rev. Dr. Sullivan, and an array of Canons in their stately robes, the brilliant colors of the uniforms, the impressive formula, all tended to great solemnity; and when the treasured colors, their brilliancy dimmed by the battle and the breeze, were received at the chancel steps by His Lordship, the Bishop, while the organ played "Home, Sweet Home," emotion ran high and the tears were not far from the eyes of the staunchest soldier present. A touching reference by the Rector in his earnest address to the fallen heroes of the Northwest rebellion, drew many an eye to the brass tablet, wreathed in evergreen, and studded with white chrysanthemums, to the memory of Lieut. William Charles Fitch, "killed in action at Batoche," and to the one similarly wreathed, in token of remembrance, to Capt. Andrew Maxwell Irving.

As the clock pointed a quarter to four came a loud knock at the King street door of the church, and the rector, Bishop Sullivan, sent his churchwardens to ascertain who it was that demanded admittance. These officials proceeded to the door, and there learned from the officer standing thereat, who was Lieut. and Adjutant Wilkie, that he "desired speech with the rector." The wardens then closed the door, and returning to the rector, delivered the message, the right reverend gentleman, in reply, saying he would see the officer. Again the wardens proceeded to the door, and on their return once more to the chancel they were accompanied by Lieut. Wilkie, who, with drawn sword, halted at the foot of the chancel steps, and addressing Bishop Sullivan, said: "My Lord, I am commanded by Lieut.-Col. Mason, commanding the Royal Grenadiers, to inform you that he desires to place within this sacred building, for safe-keeping, the old colors of the regiment."

Bishop Sullivan gave his formal assent, and then Lieut. Wilkie returned to convey his answer to Col. Mason.

At the same time the Bishop, clergy, and wardens proceeded towards the King Street entrance, of which had been thrown open to admit the military. A procession was then formed as the doors follows:--- The churchwardens, the choir, the clergy, the bishops, the officers bearing the colors, and the escort, the latter at the shoulder with fixed bayonets. As the whole party advanced up the aisle the hymn, "Onward Christian Soldiers" was sung, accompanied by the organ and the band of the regiment, the latter being posted in the transept to the right of the organ.

Lieut. -Col. Mason, followed by Major Bruce and Capt. Cameron, acting major, stepped to the front, and Col. Mason, addressing the rector, said: "My Lord, I have come here with the old colors of the Royal Grenadiers, that have been borne by the regiment for 33 years, with the hope and with the request, that the authorities of this cathedral church will permit these treasured and venerable emblems of loyalty, Christianity, and civilization to find permanent rest wilhin the walls of this sacred building, in the midst of a loyal and God-fearing population." Bishop Sullivan, in reply, said that the authorities would not only receive the colors and permit them to be place in the church, but would feel honored by the trust.

The colors, he intimated, would be sacred objects, and the church authorities would prize them as mong their most sacred treasures. The colors, being handed to the rector, he handed them to the Bishop of Toronto, who in turn laid them upon the altar, the escort presenting arms before the old colors were handed over by the majors.

The cathedral was crowded every part, few more impressive ceremonies being ever held within its walls. The Rector, Bishop Sullivan, preached a sermon of rare eloquence and well worthy the occasion. For many years worthily had these colors been borne by the regimemt, and now, with ceremony combined, they are given an honored resting place.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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