RLI Badge

1st Battalion Rhodesian Light Infantry Regimental Association ®

Colours & Standards

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The Regimental Colour (Pre-Republic)

consist of the regimental badge surrounded by the words “the rhodesian light infantry” and a laurel wreath of flame lillies, surmounted by the royal crown on a green background.>

The Queen's Colour (Pre-Republic)

Bears the Royal Crown and the inscription “The Rhodesian Light Infantry” on the traditional background of the Union Jack.

The Presidents Colour (Post-Republic)

The Rhodesia flag with the inscription “The Rhodesian Light Infantry” surrounding the Rhodesian Coat of Arms.

The Regimental Colour (Post-Republic)

Consist of the Regimental badge surrounded by the words “The Rhodesian Light Infantry” and a laurel wreath of Flame Lillies, on a green background.
Origin, Traditions & Significance of The Colours (Extracts from Wikipedia Encyclopedia)


The practice of carrying standards, to act both as a rallying point for troops, and to mark the location of the commander, is thought to have originated in Egypt some 5,000 years ago. It was formalised in the armies of medieval Europe, with standards being emblazoned with the commander’s coat of arms.

As armies became trained and adopted set formations, each regiment’s ability to keep its formation was potentially critical to its, and therefore its army’s, success. In the chaos of battle, not least due to the amount of dust and smoke on a battlefield, soldiers needed to be able to determine where their regiment was.

In the British Army the medieval standards developed into the Colours of the Infantry, the Standards of the Heavy Cavalry, and the Guidons of the Light Cavalry.

The term “Regimental Colour’ was first mentioned in historical military documents in 1747. According to a document known as the “Regulations for the Uniform Clothing of the Marching Regiments of Foot, Their Colours, Drums, Bells of Arms, and Camp Colours, 1747”...


After ceremonial parades the Colour Party was served with sherry. This tradition was initiated in 1967 on Regimental Day. The Battalion paraded with the Colours and the then Honorary Colonel Major-General R. E. B. Long CBE reviewed the parade (he was the first and only Honorary Colonel). After the parade the two subalterns who carried the Colours, sent six beers over to the WOs’ & Sgts’ Mess with a scruffy little note, worded “RSM – in appreciation”. The RSM, WO1 Tarr O. R later discussed this with the then CO Lt.-Col. G. P. Walls MBE and the Adjutant Capt. R. E. H. Lockley. It was on this rather insignificant, but appreciated gesture, that the tradition was initiated.

Battle Honours

A battle honour is a military tradition practised in the Commonwealth countries of the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand and is an official acknowledgement rewarded to military units for their achievements in specific wars or operations of a military campaign.

The practice of adding a regiment’s or a battalion’s battle honours onto its Regimental Colours came into existence in 1784. At the time it was a way to show a regiment’s military accomplishments to its enemies and thus intimidate them.

Since regiments no longer carry their colours into battles this tradition has become a means for the regiments to show off their past military achievements to its own members, the public as well as other regiments.

In general, British and Commonwealth infantry or line regiments have battle honours only on their Regimental Colours. Exception is made to regiments of the Foot Guards where battle honours can be seen on both their Regimental and King’s or Queen’s Colours.

A battle honour is granted through the Royal Prerogative of the monarch of Great Britain and the Commonwealth (or by relevant Head of State) and by the 20th century was granted only after lengthy historical review of a particular conflict. It is comparable to a unit citation in other national traditions.

A battle honour may be granted to infantry/cavalry regiments or battalions, but with the exception of Royal Navy ships and Royal Air Force squadrons, they are rarely granted to sub-units such as companies, platoons and sections in the army.

Battle honours are usually presented in the form of a name of a country, a region or a city where the regiment’s distinguished act took place, together with the year when it occurred. Not every battle fought will automatically result in the granting of a battle honour. Conversely, a regiment or a battalion might obtain more than one battle honour over the course of a larger operation.

During the Falklands War in 1982, for instance, the 2nd Battalion of the Scots Guards played a crucial role in the capturing of Mount Tumbledown. As a result, the battalion was awarded two battle honours for the same war, one for a specific action ‘Tumbledown Mountain’ and one for the overall conflict ‘Falkland Islands 1982’. The Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry likewise received an honour for both ‘Kapyong’ and ‘Korea 1951–1953’.

A unit need not have defeated an adversary in order to earn a battle honour. For instance, although the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps were unable to stop the invading Japanese army from capturing Hong Kong in 1941, the unit was nevertheless awarded the battle honour ‘Hong Kong’ for its actions.

Supporting corps/branches such as medical, service, ordnance, artillery, engineer, or transport do not receive battle honours. Commonwealth artillery does not maintain battle honours as they carry neither colours nor guidons, though their guns by tradition are afforded many of the same respects and courtesies.

However, both the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers were in 1832 granted by King William IV the right to use the Latin Ubique, meaning ‘everywhere’, as a battle honour. This is worn on the cap badge of both corps. The practice was later extended to these same corps in the successor Commonwealth armed forces.

If the regiment has more than a single battalion, then there will be identifying marks on the colours to show which battalion they belong to. There are various other embellishments that can be added to the colours on various occasions, such as, on anniversaries of various battle honours and certain other events, a laurel wreath is added to the top of the pike.

Battle honour equivalents awarded by foreign countries may be added to the colours, subject to permission being given by the head of state and in Britain and the Commonwealth, four infantry battalions are permitted to display the four-foot-long blue streamer that signifies the Presidential Unit Citation/Distinguished Unit Citation, which is the highest collective award given by the United States of America.

In some cases where a battle honour was not granted, a special uniform distinction has been substituted. For example, soldiers of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment wear a cap badge on both the front and the rear of their hats. This so-called ‘back badge’ is unique in the British Army and was awarded to the 28th Regiment of Foot for their actions at the Battle of Alexandria in 1801.

Knowledge of that battle honour, represented by the back badge, is said to have encouraged the soldiers of the Gloucestershire Regiment in the defence of Gloster Hill during the Battle of the Imjin River in April 1951 during the Korean War.

Other uniform distinctions include:

Oakleaf Shoulder Badge:

The Calgary Highlanders, The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s) and The Winnipeg Light Infantry. Awarded for ‘Kitchener’s Wood’ in April 1915. No battle honour had been granted and the units petitioned for a special badge.


Several British regiments have a sphinx on their regimental colour as well as cap badges and belt buckles to commemorate service in Egypt, specifically the Battle of Alexandria in 1801.


The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards have an eagle on their cap badge to commemorate the capture of a French Imperial Eagle at Waterloo by the Royal Scots Greys.

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