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The original purpose of regimental "colours" or flags was to indicate the rallying points of troops on the battlefield. The loss of the colours was an actual and symbolic loss for a regiment because it was frequently a mark of failure. Fighting in their vicinity often proved to be the most fierce as the enemy sought to secure them and their owners fought to prevent their capture. The tradition of embellishing basic flags with labels naming specific campaigns engaged in by the regiment is a post-medieval phenomenon, and anyone visiting a British cathedral is likely to come upon such colours in one of its many chapels.
Worcester Cathedral's St George's Chapel, not unnaturally, holds a collection of the colours of battalions of the Worcester Regiment. In 1970 it was was amalgamated with the Sherwood Foresters and ceased to be a distinct regiment. The chapel at the cathedral holds flags that date back to the nineteenth century, as well as those from the First and Second World Wars. Light and time inevitably take their toll on the material of the flags and the examples shown in today's photograph are typically discoloured and threadbare, qualities that help the viewer to better understand the passage of time since they were carried into battle.
photograph and text © Tony Boughen
Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 19.3mm (52mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f3.5
Shutter Speed: 1/13
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On