THE battle colours of one of Scotland’s most famous regiments is to be moved to a new home – in England.
The colours of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB) will be placed in their regimental museum in Berwick-upon-tweed, Northumberland.
Edinburgh Castle and the city’s Canongate Kirk were also considered as permanent homes for the colours but lost out to Berwick.
The standard has been a rallying point for the regiment for centuries, and carries battle honours from fighting the French in the 18th and 19th centuries to 20th century operations such as Gallipoli, British Palestine and Arnhem.
Other honours for the regiment, which was formed in 1689, include Afghanistan in 1878-80 and Egypt in 1801.
The KOSB colours, currently kept at Dreghorn Barracks in Edinburgh, are being permanently “retired” because the regiment has been amalgamated and has been presented with new colours.
At last week’s meeting of the KOSB Association, members unanimously decided to host the colours south of the border, due to the town’s close ties with the regiment.
Former soldier Ed Swales, president of the KOSB Association’s Berwick branch, has run a “keep the colours” campaign since November last year.
He said the AGM was stunned by the level of feeling from family members of servicemen and members of the public.
He said: “I presented some responses and press cuttings to the trustees on Thursday night. Their eyes popped out!
“They could see the amazing level of commitment towards the regiment.
“The president of the KOSB Association brought up the need for support from ordinary people in the border area, not just KOSB members.
“We were able to show him the support of thousands of people, particularly through our website.”
Mr Swales now hopes rather than rallying troops, as it has done since 1805, the flag will pull in tourists to the regimental museum, hosted in their barracks.
The colours are expected to move to Berwick around August next year, and it is hoped Princess Anne will attend the ceremony.
Clive Fairweather, who commanded the regiment on its 300th anniversary in 1989, says he is glad the colours are returning to the regiment’s “spiritual home.”
The former colonel, who also served as Scotland’s prisons inspector and in the SAS, said: “I don’t see it as the colours moving to England. They’re going to our spiritual home.
“Although we may be an Edinburgh regiment I find myself thinking more often of marching down through Berwick.
“It’s quite a fitting place.”
He joked: “Who knows, maybe Berwick-upon-Tweed will join Scotland one day anyway!”
Brigadier Andrew Jackson, chairman of the association’s trustees, said the decision was clear-cut.
He said: “Whether it was in Scotland or England wasn’t completely in the discussion.
“It was either Canongate Kirk, because we were historically the Edinburgh regiment, or Edinburgh castle because it had other historical memorabilia.
“Berwick has historic ties with the regiment. It’s been our home for 180 years and we’ve got really strong links with the town.”
He said: “It provided a clear view that such historic colours had to be retired to Berwick.
“Normally, these processes are internal, but this was a unique decision, so it was vital to hear not only from trustees but members of the association too.”
The KOSB were amalgamated with the Royal Scots to form 1 Scots, The Royal Scots Borderers.
The colours are currently held in Dreghorn barracks in Edinburgh.
In July last year they were paraded for the last time before the Queen, who presented the Royal Scots Borderers with new colours.
The current set of colours was presented in 1998, but the regiment carried colours throughout
Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond recently backed down on a proposed plan to scrap all the historical names of several Scottish regiments.
Under the plans, the regiments would have had the remaining names replaced with numbered battalions such as “3 Scots”.