Ex-soldiers to decide fate of final Colours

Minden Day Parade at Berwick Barracks. Jimmy Denholm from Foulden receives his rose at the parade.
Minden Day Parade at Berwick Barracks. Jimmy Denholm from Foulden receives his rose at the parade.
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FORMER soldiers who served with the King’s Own Scottish Borders are to be asked to decide the resting place of their final Colours.

In 2006, as part of the UK Government re-vamp of the Army, the KOSB and the Royal Scots were merged to become the Royal Scots Borderers – 1Scots, the 1st Battalion of the then fledgling Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Minden Day Parade at Berwick Barracks. Mrs Jean Sime receives The Elizabeth Cross from Brigadier Andrew Jackson, President of the KOSB Association.

Minden Day Parade at Berwick Barracks. Mrs Jean Sime receives The Elizabeth Cross from Brigadier Andrew Jackson, President of the KOSB Association.

And on July 2 this year in Edinburgh, the KOSB Colours – the Queen’s and the Regimental standards bearing hard-won battle honours – were marched off for the last time as the Queen presented 1Scots with their first Colours.

And in Berwick on Saturday, the Regimental Colour of 1Scots and the Regimental Colour of the KOSB were paraded together at the annual Minden Day celebrations.

It was the first time new Colours had been paraded since being handed over by the Queen.

The KOSB Colour was carried on behalf of the Regimental Association by Brian McLeod from Hawick and, alongside the Queen’s Colour, now rests in the Regimental Museum in Berwick, the former HQ of the KOSB. .

Minden Day Parade at Berwick Barracks. Roses are passed around the soldiers.

Minden Day Parade at Berwick Barracks. Roses are passed around the soldiers.

But where the old Colours – carried since 1985 and which featured prominently in the 1989 tercentenary celebrations – will finally be laid up, has yet to be decided.

Regimental secretary and museum curator William Foster told TheSouthern: “The Regimental Trustees are still debating the subject and KOSB Association members will be asked to vote on three possibilities – the museum at Berwick, the Canongate Kirk on the Royal Mile, or Edinburgh Castle. My personal preference would be Berwick where they could be accessed free by our members.”

A downside to Edinburgh Castle could be what many see as the high cost of entry, while the Canongate Kirk, venue of Saturday’s royal wedding, is already festooned with military standards.

And one problem associated with Colours being laid-up in churches is that they can deteriorate rapidly.

Several KOSB Colours that had hung in St Giles have had to be painstakingly restored.

It’s expected that a majority of veterans will opt for the museum at Berwick as the final resting place of the last KOSB Colours.

On the barrack square there was a particularly poignant moment when the Elizabeth Cross and Scroll was presented to Jean Sime, the widow of a KOSB soldier killed during the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Lance Corporal Peter Sime was 22 when he was shot by a sniper at Ballymurphy in East Belfast on April 7, 1972. The Queen gave her name to the Elizabeth Cross in 2009 and the hallmarked silver brooch can be claimed by the next of kin of those who have been killed in operations since the end of World War II.

The Elizabeth Cross carries the Scottish thistle, the English rose, the Irish shamrock and the Welsh daffodil.

Mr Foster revealed: “Mrs Sime particularly asked that the presentation be made on Minden Day because her husband was a proud member of the KOSB.”

The 1st KOSB lost another two soldiers in Northern Ireland that same year – Lance Corporal Barry Gold from St Boswells on April 24 after a gun battle at a vehicle checkpoint in Belfast and Colour Sergeant Henry Middlemass on December 10 from a booby trap in Belfast’s Turf Lodge.

Around 500 serving soldiers and veterans joined families and friends at the Minden Day celebrations with music for marching provided by the Pipes and Drums of 1Scots, the Inter Scaldis Dutch Pipe Band and the Berwick and Eyemouth Royal British Legion Pipe Bands.

During the commemorations serving and past soldiers were presented red Minden roses.

Soldiers from the 25th of Foot – later to become the KOSB – pinned roses to their headgear as a means of identification at the Battle of Minden on August 1, 1759, when several infantry regiments routed opposing cavalry.

A salute was taken at the Guidhall where the civic party was led by Mayor Alan Bowlas. The reviewing officer was President of the KOSB Association Brigadier Andrew Jackson accompanied by the Commanding Officer of 1Scots Lieutenant Colonel Ben Wrench and Regimental Sergeant Major Paul Wood.

The parade marked the anniversary of the KOSB’s participation in the first Gulf War of 1991.

The Royal Scots Borderers are about to start training for a return to Afghanistan.