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The Colours (or Flags) of the 89th Regiment of Foot
by Kevin Windsor

89th Colours at Crysler's Farm (painting by Sherriff-Scott/ photo by Rene Chartrand)

            The 89th Regiment of Foot was raised by Major General William Crosbie in December 1793.  In January of 1794, the Regiment embarked for England under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Handfield.  It was probably at the Southampton that the 89th received there first set of Colours.


1st Set

            These Colours were carried only for a brief period of time.  Presumably from 1794 until 1801 with the Act of Union, where they were replaced with a set with the Cross of St. Patrick.  It was originally thought that this set was lost in 1805, but there is a pre 1801 Regimental Colour in the Royal Irish Fusilier Museum in Armagh , which is assumed to be from this set.  The Number on it is LXXXVIIII.  It is not known who presented them.


2nd Set

            These Colours are speculative, but since the pre 1801 Colours are in the R. I. F. Museum it is certain that a new set was issued after 1801, but before 1805.  These Colours were lost in a shipwreck on December 13, 1805 , when the Regiment left Kinsale , Ireland to go on active service in Holland .  The Regiment lost most of its head quarters, including the band, mess plate, Regimental books and many lives.  The Dutch made prisoners of those who were not drowned.


3rd Set

            Nothing is known about this set, but with the addition of the 2nd Battalion of the 89th Regiment in December 1803, they received their own set.  The 2nd Battalion carried these Colours during the War of 1812 at the Battles of Crysler’s Farm, Lundy’s Lane. They were laid up in November 1816 on the reduction of the 2nd Battalion.


4th Set

            Between June and September of 1806 the 1st Battalion of the Regiment received their third set of Colours at Ospringe , England .  There is no record as to who presented these Colours, but while in Ospringe the Regiment was reviewed by HRH the Duke of York before embarking again on active service and twenty-one years in India .


5th Set

            On the 6th November 1816 the remaining soldiers of the 2nd Battalion 89th Regiment marched to Quilon with the 1st Battalion where the Regiment remained for 15 years.  On May 17th 1820 the Regiment received a new set of Colours.  This set of Colours were probably presented by Lord Rawdon (1754-1826) who was the Governor General of India and the Commander in Chief of the Forces in India .  These Colours were carried through the Burmese War and were carried by the Regiment went they were awarded the battle honour “Ava” in 1826.


6th Set

            On January 13, 1831 , after 21 years, the 89th Regiment left India and sailed to England arriving on the 7th of May 1831 after an absence of twenty-five years.  The Regiment marched from Chatham to Canterbury and boarded the Ships “Tallavera” and “Wellesley” for Plymouth , and finally arrived on November 22nd at Devonport where they remained on Garrison duty for nearly two years.  During this time the Regiment received their 6th Set of Colours.  On the 3rd of August 1833 , General Lord Hill of Waterloo fame inspected the 89th Regiment on the Plymouth Hoe, and the fourteen-year-old, Heir Presumptive, Princess Victoria presented the Colours to the Regiment.

            This set of Colours was carried by the Regiment for 33 years (20 years being on Foreign Service) and was taken to the West Indies , Canada , the Crimea , South Africa , and again to India .  They are currently housed in the Garrison Church (All Saints) in Aldershot .


7th Set

            On the 8th of August 1865, the Regiment, again, return to Great Britain after an absence of thirty years.  The Regiment arrived in Shorncliffe with 12 companies and a strength of 723 all ranks.  On March 29 1866 , the Regiment was moved by rail to Aldershot .  On April 5, 1866 the Regiment presented with, what would become, their last set of Colours.  It is rare in history that a set of Colours is replaced by the same person who bestows the first.  But on that day at 3 p.m. Victoria , this time as Queen presents the 89th Regiment with a new set to replace those she, as Princess, presented 33 years earlier.  This set was carried by the Regiment for 15 years and were laid up when the Regiment was localised with the 87th Royal Irish Fusiliers to become the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers (Princess Victoria’s) and later Princess Victoria’s (Royal Irish Fusiliers) Regiment.

Copyright: Kevin Windsor 2006

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