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DateOriginal Topic
26th January 2004Rorke's Drift-Colours
By Will Braun
Does anyone know if the colours for the 2/24 company b where present at the fighting at Rorle's Drift?
26th January 2004Julian Whybra
A company doesn't have colours.
26th January 2004Roger Morgan
Will, I believe that the colours for the 2nd Battalion 24th were lost at Isandlwana when the camp was over run. All that was found was part of a staff. The men at Rorkes Drift were ' B ' company (among many others) and they had been left there to guard the position. Obviously the colours went with the regiment. It was the colours of the 1st Battalion that were the object of Melville and Coghills dramatic efforts at the river and were ultimatly recovered.
If you look at the 1879 Groups web site you'll see the replicas that we have of the 2nd Batt. colours.
Best wishes,
26th January 2004John Young

Just to make the answers above somewhat clearer to you.

As Julian states above a company does not have Colours. Most line infantry regiments carried two colours - one was the Queen's Colour - the other the Regimental Colour.

Both the Colours of 2nd. Battalion, 24th. (2nd. Warwickshire) Regiment were in the camp at Isandlwana, having been left there when the six companies of that battalion marched out with Lord Chelmsford, early on the morning of the 22nd. of January. Only the pole (found 21st. May, 1879), the crown (discovered in March, 1879 in Natal, some five miles from Rorke's Drift.) and case (found 23rd September, 1879, not far from Fugitives' Drift.) of one of the Colours was recovered.

To correct Mr. Morgan's statement made above in the case of Colours of the 1st. Battalion, 24th. (2nd. Warwickshire) Regiment, it obvious that the Colours went with the regiment. In fact the Regimental Colour of the 1st. Battalion was in a guard tent at Helpmekaar, where only Captain T. Rainforth's 'G' Company, 1st. Battalion, 24th. (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment, were on the morning of the 22nd of January, 1879.

It was the Regimental Colour of the 1st. Battalion, 24th. (2nd. Warwickshire) Regiment that Lieutenant & Adjutant Teignmouth Melvill attempted to save from the field of Isandlwana. There is no evidence from the survivors to indicate that Coghill took part the attempt to save the Regimental Colour, contrary to the statement made above, this is also reflected in the memorandum in 'The Supplement to The London Gazette' of 2nd. May, 1879.
'Lieutenant Melville[sic.] of the 1st Battalion 24th Foot, on account of the gallant efforts made by him to save the Queen's Colour of his Regiment after the disaster at Isandlwanha[sic.], and also Lieutenant Coghill, 1st Battalion, 24th Foot, on account of his heroic conduct in endeavouring to save his brother officer's life, would have been recommended to Her Majesty for the Victoria Cross had they survived.'

I assume that Mr. Morgan must be one of the 1879 Group's Colonel Glyn's descendants, as he couldn't spell the name of his own adjutant, either.

John Y.
26th January 2004Roger Morgan
Well, there we are, Will. We both know more now than we did before.
26th January 2004AMB
You say that you have replica colours with your re-enactment group - indeed, I have seen your website (very good too!). Have you asked the present RRW about carrying their [former] colours? I thought that colours were sacred to the Regt. I. of course might be wrong.

26th January 2004Mo Jones.
Hi A M B

May I answer this on behalf of Roger.
We do have official permission from the
regiment to carry them and we worked
with them over a long period of time during
the research of them and the making of them.
We had the honour on the 23rd of January
2004 of them being used along side Dalton's
V C at The Royal Logistic Corp Annual Rorke's Drift Dinner at their depot in Cirencester along with members of the groups living history section.

Thanks for asking


Mo Jones

The 1879 Group.
27th January 2004Will Braun
Thank you all for your input
30th January 2004Clive Dickens
Some present day regiments DO in fact have colours but this of course is only a regimental thing Th e 1st of foot The Royal Scots have company colours and so do the Brigade of guards.
30th January 2004AMB
Whilst the RMP do not have Colours, the Gurkha's have a truncheon, but that really is going off track!

1st February 2004Bec
Does anyone know how many no-longer-existing regiments still have "Live" colours (like the 2nd 24th)?

4th February 2004L.J.Knight
as far as im aware the only "colour" raised at Rorkes Drift was an improvised white flag flown at the approach of Chelmsfords remainder of the centre column. not forgetting the jack on display at the S.W.B. museum,if that truely was flown at the time of the defence..regards