Describing colours as 'tawdy tribute' shows a total lack of respect

PUBLISHED: 15:01 14 February 2013

THE "threadbare rags" described by your correspondent Peter Dawe as a "tawdry tribute to the fallen" shows a total lack of understanding and respect for what these symbols represent.

The flags are, in fact, called colours and they come from both disbanded and serving regiments.

The use of colours as a way of rallying troops goes back to pre-Roman times and has been a fundamental feature of British military tradition for hundreds of years.

These colours are often presented by the Sovereign and are held in great reverence and respect by the unit to which they have been presented.

If the unit is disbanded or the colours need replacing because they are worn out it is traditional to lay them up in a public building which reflects the importance of the colours to those who have served under them.

Ely Cathedral is fortunate to have the colours of many fine East Anglian regiments in the North Transept. Many of the soldiers who died under these colours are amongst the more than 5,000 men remembered in St George’s Chapel.

The colours are not merely decorations to be replaced at a whim. They are a revered artefact from proud British Regiments and should be treated as such.

If Mr Dawe is in any doubt about the importance of colours to the military he should watch The Queen’s Birthday Parade in June on Horse Guards Parade. Even Her Majesty salutes the colour as it passes her by, bowing her head.

JOHN BORLAND

President

City of Ely Branch

The Royal British Legion

Cambridge Road

Ely

Via e-mail

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