Last modified: 2011-11-19 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: jamaica | police | fin flash | regiment |
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Defence Forces in imperial usage were small local forces for
colonial defence consisting of part-time colonials and sometimes
natives, and completely separate from full-time "imperial
forces" whose service liability included overseas ventures.
Defence Forces often existed in the absence of Colonial Forces (a more substantial army of colonists and natives available for both defence and external service.) Defence Forces reported to the local colonial government, but Colonial Forces were sometimes under direct War Office control in London.
"Imperial" forces usually meant British forces when serving overseas in order to distinguish them from all the others they served with, but the term eventually came to vaguely embrace full-time native forces (e.g. King's African Rifles in East Africa, the regular Indian Army, etc.). Most Brits today would not recognize "imperial forces" as applying to them.
As small countries with no regular forces became independent, they kept their "Defence Force" (including the name) while elevating at least some liability to full-time regular service.
The local "regiment" and the DF are often indistinguishable.
For instance, "The Jamaica Regiment" and the "Jamaica Defence Force" are essentially one and the same. At independence, the JDF absorbed one battalion of the West India Regiment (the other battalion becoming the army of Trinidad and Tobago) to become The Jamaica Regiment. As the name 'Defence Forces' implies, these forces are still too small to invade anybody. Virtually none of them at independence included naval and air elements. When these were formed later, they remained under the umbrella of the predominantly land DF.
Jamaica doesn't have an "air force." It has an "Air Wing" of the Defence Force (JDF), which is considered a support arm.
The JDF is too small to have separate services.
In other words, the navy and air are branches of the army.
T.F. Mills, 11 March 2009
image by Eugene Baldwin, 23 September 1998
After [smi75b]. This is now
the military flag, but is derived from the badge of the Colonial
Police Force in Jamaica. The inscription on the badge on the flag
is "DEFENCE FORCE". Ratio 3:5.
David Prothero, 26 September 1998
Armed forces in Jamaica (1997): 3.320 (Army, 90.4%; Cost
Guards, 4.5%; Air Force, 5.1%).
Source: Encyclopaedia Universalis Yearbook (1998).
Ivan Sache, 27 February 2002
The Jamaica Regiment (infantry) is the main component of the Jamaica
Defence Force, and each of the three battalions carries two colours in
the British tradition.
The Queen's Colour is the national flag with a central red circle inscribed with the name of the regiment and surmounted by a crown. The battalion number (roman numeral) is in the middle of the circle.
The Regimental Colour consists of the same circle, regimental name and crown, but inside the circle is the regimental badge (a crocodile). The whole is surmounted by a wreath of a design peculiar to Jamaica (in keeping with Commonwealth tradition), but I can't figure out what the wreaths are. The laurel or wreath of the 2nd Battalion is made up of a composition of Ferns and Periwinkle found in the town of Moneague, St. Ann where the Battalion was first raised. It was based on the design work of a young female art student (whose name escapes me at the moment) and adopted by the Commanding Officer, Lt. Col Nestor Ogilvie. They appear to be different for each battalion. Also unusual are the different facing colours for the 1st and 2nd Battalions (blue and maroon). Normally all battalions of a regiment have the same colour. Blue is reserved for "royal" regiments (which Jamaica is not), and red is normally unknown since a regiment with red facings would carry a Colour in the form of a St. George cross. You can see the Colours at <www.jdfmil.org>.
Only a Queen's Colour is shown for the 3rd Battalion, and it is possible that is all that was ever presented. The 3rd Bn, (National Reserve), to my recollection also has Regimental colours.
T.F. Mills, 22 September 1999 and eljko Heimer, 23 February 2002
Some corrections made by Barrington Haynes, 5 May 2010
In addition, the Regimental Colour of the 1st Battalion, presented on 23rd
November 1963, had the motto 'Forward' in a straight white scroll across the
junction of the wreath. The wreath on this colour was the conventional British
wreath of roses, thistles and shamrocks.
Apparently, the Regimental Colour of the 1st Battalion is blue because blue facings were granted to the Jamaica Militia in 1694 in recognition of their services in repelling an invasion of the island by the French at Carlisle Bay.
The 3rd National Reserve Battalion was presented with a Regimental Colour; both colours were presented on 30th July 1965 by the then Governor General Sir Clfford Campbell GCMG. Just to add to the confusion, the regimental colour was green. According to an informant of Dr Stoker's (see source below), this was because the battalion's first training major (a Regular Army officer attached to the battalion, responsible for training) belonged to the Sherwood Foresters, whose facings were green. Stoker does not comment on the components of the wreath, but a photo in the article clearly shows they are different from those on the 1st Battalion colour - the wreath does have the same motto across the base.
Source: Stoker, G.E., 'The West India Regiment colours and uniform', in: Bulletin of the Military Historical Society, no.82 (1970) pp33-39
Ian Sumner, 17 May 2010