Ferozeshah, taken from
battle fought by the 62nd Regiment over 21st and 22nd
December 1845, was a victory for the Army, but the loss to the Regiment was
A Ceremonial Parade was
held annually on which, in appreciation of the services rendered by the
sergeants, the Colours were handed over by the Commanding Officer to the
custody of the Warrant Officers and Sergeants of the battalion for the
remainder of the day. A Sergeants Ball is held in the evening and the
Colours handed back to the Officers at midnight.
The composition of the
Colour Parties on this day differed from the normal one which is two
Subalterns, a Warrant Officer Class II and two Sergeants. The Officers
Colour party consists of two Subalterns and three Corporals. The Sergeants'
Colour party consists of two Colour Sergeants, a Warrant Officer Class II
and two sergeants.
Before the handover of the
Colours from the Officers to the Sergeants, the Commanding Officer read out
"Warrant Officers and
Sergeants of the Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment. I am about to hand over
to your custody for a period, the Colours of the 1st Battalion. This high
honour is bestowed on you in commemoration of the gallant services rendered
by your predecessors at the battle of Ferozeshah, the anniversary of which
we celebrate today. Safeguard and honour these Colours as your Officers have
ever done and let the fact that our Colours are entrusted to your keeping be
not only a reminder of past services but also a visible expression of the
confidence and trust which to-day your Officers just place in you.
Hand over the Colours".
Another unique custom on
this parade was that the Regimental Sergeant Major alone commanded the
Escort to the Colours, which was usually the Champion Drill Company.
Wherever the Regiment was
stationed, placed outside the Guardroom was a large ship's bell. This bell
was presented to the Regiment by HMS VERNON, a Naval shore establishment in
Portsmouth, with whom there was an affiliation. This affiliation was at the
request of the Duke of Edinburgh, who wished to continue the association of
the Wiltshire Regiment and the Royal Berkshire Regiment with the Royal Navy,
which had existed for over two hundred years.
Throughout the day the
bell was struck by the Regimental Police or Guard Commander to indicate the
time of day, in the same manner as is the custom in the Royal Navy. The
Regiment was the only Regiment to observe this custom. This custom of
striking ship's time stems from the Wiltshire Regiment. Just two years after
their formation, the 62nd were employed as Marines and were in action as
such when they formed part of the force of the sea-borne attack on French
Canada, gaining the Battle Honour of Louisburg.
To commemorate their
service as Marines, the band was permitted to play Rule Britannia on special
Later the Regiment
acquired a ship's bell and started to strike time throughout the day. This
developed into a custom which became unique in the British Army.
Officers Mess Customs:
The Royal Berkshire
Regiment's custom of "ROLLING IN" on Officers' Mess Guest Night,
was still observed in the Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment. The custom was
observed in the following manner:
"When the band played
'The Roast Beef of Old England', two Drummers, dressed in the scarlet
jackets and blue helmets of the pre-1914 period, lead the Officers and their
guests from the ante-room to the dining room beating a roll upon their
drums. One drummer went to one side of the table whilst the other took the
On arriving opposite the
middle of the table they halted but continued playing until all the officers
were placed, whereupon they ceased playing and withdrew."
The drums used were both
trophies. One was a small Russian drum acquired by the old 49th Foot when in
the Crimea known as the Inkerman Drum. The other was a German drum captured
by the Royal Berkshire Regiment during the 1914-18 war.