The Colours of The East Surrey Regiment
(and its forebears the 31st and 70th of Foot)
Seventieth Regiment, 1848-1867
It is believed this stand was presented to the 70th in Ireland in 1848 prior to its embarkation for India – where they had been in the possession of the Regiment since 1845, when their predecessors were laid up, is not known – the Regimental History is silent on the point. They were the first issued after the 1844 regulations of Queen Victoria’s reign. These stated that the ‘First’ or ‘King’s’ Colour was to be called ‘Royal’ – this rule lasted until 1892. The central design was ordered to be that:
which bear a Royal, County or other title are to have
on a red ground, a circle within the Union Wreath or Roses, Thistles,
and Shamrocks. The number of the Regiment in Gold Roman characters in the centre”.
The Regiment took part in operations against insurgent Sepoy regiments in the Indian Mutiny of 1857. Four years later it was posted to New Zealand and was involved in the bitter actions fought against Maoris in the war of 1864-1865. A year after the Seventieth’s return to England (at Shorncliffe) in 1866, hese Colours were retired and laid up in All Saints’ Church, Aldershot.
These Colours were in All Saints’, Aldershot, for nearly one hundred years. The remains of the Queen’s Colour were in tatters, and have been destroyed. During a clearing-out operation by the church in the 1960s the Colours, now only fragments (but once of the old six foot size) were returned to the Regimental Museum. Only the Queen’s Crown, central design, and about one third of the floral wreath were left of the Regimental Colour, with some remains of the black facings. The numerals LXX were discernible on both Colours. Mrs Peter Hill mounted these pieces on canvas for exhibition at Clandon Park.
These Colours are of the size laid down in the Queen’s Regulations of 1868. Three feet nine inches horizontal, by three feet vertical, exclusive of a two-inch fringe – dimensions.