As time has progressed, these historic colours have become a symbol for military spirit. There is a great deal of cultural and sentimental significance behind them, and they are honoured by servicemen and women and civilians alike. Read on to learn more about the history of the regimental colours and how Corgi pays homage to them today.
What is Meant by ‘Colours’ and How Did They Develop throughout History?
‘Colours’ are the set of physical flags and colour schemes that are associated with a particular regiment within the army. The act of carrying ‘colours’, otherwise known as ‘standards or ‘guidons’, originated in Ancient Egypt some 5,000 years ago. The Roman Empire used battle standards to organise their vast, sprawling armies.
In the UK, the use of colours as we know them originated in the seventeenth century. When monarchs and Parliament wanted to recruit an army, they would commission professional soldiers and aristocrats to find ready and willing local participants. During battle, each aristocrat or professional soldier would wear a signifier - their colours - to help the soldiers they recruited find their regiment.
The colours also represented the spirit of a particular regiment. It was considered a great feat to capture and take home an opponent’s regimental colours, meaning that soldiers would often defend their regiment’s colours with their lives. When certain colours are deemed redundant or become too old for use, they are never discarded. Instead, they are placed in a museum or church.
The British Army’s history and legacy are staple components of our cultural identity, and the systems of regiments and colours are the building blocks. Regardless of political persuasion, regimental colours carry tremendous cultural weight.
Which Regiments are Represented by Corgi?
The Army Air Corps Regiment - The Army Air Corps Regiment is an amalgamation of eight smaller regiments. The regiment was established during WWII in 1942 and played a huge role in the success of the famous Battle of Britain. Our socks, inspired by this regiment, are ideal for daily wear.
The Black Watch - The Black Watch is an infantry battalion for the Royal Regiment of Scotland. The regiment was established in 1881, and their recruiting areas are in Fife, Dundee, Angus and Perth and Kinross. It customary for the Black Watch to wear kilts during parades - why not wear a pair of our Black Watch socks the next time you watch them march?
The Parachute Regiment - The Parachute Regiment, otherwise known as the Paras, are one of the most elite military units in the world. Formed in 1940, the Parachute Regiment has served in successful campaigns all over the world. Our socks of the same name, with their attractive parachute print, are one of our bestselling products.
The Royal Gurkhas - The Royal Gurkha Regiment is one of the most fierce regiments in the British Army. They are made up of Nepalese soldiers; the first Gurkhas were recruited by the East India Company in 1819. Try our Royal Gurkhas socks and your feet will feelbe feeling like royalty as well.
The Royal Regiment of Scotland - The Royal Regiment of Scotland is the only Scottish infantry in the British Army. The regiment was formed by combining smaller regiments in 2004. Even though their motto is Nemo Me Impune Lacessit (which means ‘no one assails me with impunity’), they are famous for being one of the friendliest regiments in the army… and our socks of the same name are some of the comfiest around.
The Men’s Welsh Guards - Founded in 1914, the Men’s Welsh Guard is formed of older Welsh regiments. There is a long-term connection between the Parachute Regiment and the Men’s Welsh Guards, largely due to the fact that the Parachute Regiment once offered the Welsh Guards a chance to try skydiving. Our lovely striped socks of the same name are a great addition to any comfortable collection.
The Mercian Regiment - The Mercian Regiment is rightly known as the heart of the infantry. In 2007, four regiments merged to form the Mercian regiment. Try out our Mercian socks to merge comfort and history together.
The Queen’s Own Yeomanry:The Queen’s Own Yeomanry Regiment is a lightly armoured reconnaissance regiment. Our socks of the same name, with their bumblebee colour scheme, roll style and history into a pair of comfy, breathable cotton footwear.
Our range of patriotic military socks have been commissioned by HRH the Prince of Wales to partner with Combat Stress. Combat Stress offers specialist support to war veterans who may be suffering from PTSD, anxiety and/or depression as a result of serving in a war. For every pair of socks we sell, we donate a percentage to support this mental health charity for veterans.
From helping soldiers find their way back to their platoons during battle to representing the spirit of the military, regimental colours have had a long and fascinating history - a history that servicemen and women and civilians alike should keep in their hearts and on their feet.
If you’re looking for more gift ideas, our children’s regimental socks are a great way to give your little ones some warmth and history this Christmas.