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United Kingdom: Royal Reserve Battalions

Last modified: 2006-02-11 by rob raeside
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Royal Reserve Battalions

Does anyone know what the design was of the Royal Veteran Battalion flags. I have only seen one, the 5th and it appears to have had a green background, post-1801 Union Jack in canton, charges with the Royal Cipher of Geo III, encircled by the order of the Garter, all within a wreath comprised of the floral attributed of England, Scotland and Ireland.
James Ferrigan, 15 February 2004

There were four lots of Royal Veteran Battalions, probably using the same personnel. Originally, there were thirteen battalions raised as Royal Garrison Battalions between 1802 and 1804. They were renamed Royal Veterans Battalions in 1804. Most were disbanded in 1814, but in 10th (in Canada) and the 13th (in Portugal) were not disbanded until 1815. The 6th bore the additional title Royal North British. The 13th was authorised to bear the battle honour 'Peninsula'. There was also a veteran battalion of the King's German legion, but I can't find one numbered 14th. A second group of eight battalions were formed in June 1815, and disbanded the following year. A third group of ten were formed in 1819 and disbanded in 1821. A fourth group of three battalions was formed in 1821, all in Ireland, and disbanded in 1826.

But I've not found specific reference to their colours. Since they were all 'Royal' regiments, they all had blue facings, and so should have carried blue regimental colours. Are you sure of your source for the green colour of the 5th, or could it be a blue colour that has faded badly? The design that you quote is possible, if plain, and would suit any of them, except the last group, raised when George IV was on the throne.

Lawson, C.C.P., 'A History of the Uniforms of the British Army' Volume 5 (London, Kaye & Ward, 1967)
White, A.S., 'Garrison, reserve and veteran battalions and companies', in: Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, 38 (1960), pp.156-67

Ian Sumner, 20 February 2004