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Battle Standards / Colours

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Battle Standards / Colours

Postby jamie@simonnorfolk.com » Thu Dec 12, 2019 9:49 am

Can the wisdom of this group help me with this? Pictured are the battle Standards or Colours of the Royal East Kent Regiment on display in a side chapel of Canterbury Cathedral. These flags were actually on the fields of the battles named on them in gold lettering. For British regiments they have an almost voodoo power. If they were in the regimental dining room or museum I wouldn’t remark but seeing them adorning our greatest religious buildings seems odd, like seeing a bishop on a battlefield. Do any other countries do this? The names of the battles on the flags are a list of the expansion of Britain’s Empire so I’m sure this practice is repeated in the Commonwealth (and I think I’ve seen them in the U.S.) but is it usual in your country to see religion and the military worshipped in the same place? I’m keen to hear⁣.
Many thanks
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Re: Battle Standards / Colours

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Dec 12, 2019 11:45 am

jamie@simonnorfolk.com wrote:... to see religion and the military worshipped in the same place? ...

That phrase is quite wrong. The military - like any and every part of society - asked for the blessing of God (so did the opposition of course! ;) ). When standards were too old to continue in daily use, and they are, as you say, hugely precious to the regiment, then they were laid up in churches as thanks to God and as symbols that God had looked after the regiment. In no way are they there to be "worshipped", they're not even there for the standards and the military to be celebrated. They are there as thanks and acknowledgements to God for the survival - and yes, for the victories that they represent, which is a somewhat more controversial view these days.

Still, it is an interesting question to wonder about the extent to which similar displays can be found elsewhere. Just don't misinterpret what they mean.
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Re: Battle Standards / Colours

Postby jamie@simonnorfolk.com » Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:37 pm

Thank you for this interesting response ...
can you think of any other forums worth posting to?
Most grateful for your help sharing this knowledge
Best wishes
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Re: Battle Standards / Colours

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu Dec 12, 2019 1:28 pm

You might try a general military board such as the one on Rootschat to see if they can comment on the practice of laying up old standards elsewhere. Just don't use any phrasing that suggests such objects were there for worship!

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Re: Battle Standards / Colours

Postby jamie@simonnorfolk.com » Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:32 am

Thank you Adrian, I’ll try that
Best wishes, Jamie
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Re: Battle Standards / Colours

Postby MayHam » Sat Dec 14, 2019 12:20 am

We have them in Canada, too.
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Re: Battle Standards / Colours

Postby jamie@simonnorfolk.com » Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:43 am

Thanks MayHam, please can you let me know where - any specific places you know of?
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Re: Battle Standards / Colours

Postby peter kent » Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:44 am

seeing them adorning our greatest religious buildings seems odd


It's not odd because we have an established church in this country. You may feel that having an established church is pretty odd in itself, but that's another matter.
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Re: Battle Standards / Colours

Postby MayHam » Sat Dec 14, 2019 5:05 pm

Most Anglican churches in Canada I've seen have them on display. The Church of St. Bartholomew in Ottawa recently framed theirs. It is also the Regimental Chapel of the Governor General's Foot Guards. I believe the main window pictures, in stained glass, soldiers giving glory to God. It's a neat little church. https://www.stbartsottawa.ca/about-stb.html
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Re: Battle Standards / Colours

Postby jamie@simonnorfolk.com » Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:06 pm

But surely there are lots of countries with established/state/national religions? But they don’t seem to put battle flags in their Cathedrals. Lots of old European countries like Denmark and Norway have something like state religion + old army traditions don’t they? Are there none in places like Spain or Portugal? Surely the Orthodox countries of the Balkans? Greece?


peter kent wrote:
seeing them adorning our greatest religious buildings seems odd


It's not odd because we have an established church in this country. You may feel that having an established church is pretty odd in itself, but that's another matter.
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