Following the formation of the Territorial Force in 1908, permission was granted for Infantry Battalions and Yeomanry Regiments to carry Colours and Guidons, but only under certain conditions.
If an Infantry Battalion elected to carry Colours then first there was a requirement to relinquish the uniform, customs and title of a Rifle Regiment.
In addition, only Yeomanry Regiments-styled ‘Dragoons' would be permitted to carry a guidon as sanctioned for Dragoon Regiments of regular cavalry.
It was made clear from the beginning that the expense involved in the provision of Colours would not be available from public funds, the Army or the Territorial Force Associations. The expenses involved would have to be covered by the Regiment or paid for by funds ‘gifted' by friends of the Regiment.
In the event, all the new Infantry Battalions of the Territorial Force stationed within what is now the Greater London area elected to apply for Colours with the exception of 12 out of the 26 Battalions of the London Regiment, who decided that they would retain their volunteer force heritage and remain as Rifle Battalions. The 25th (County of London) (Cyclist) Battalion was not permitted Colours, being incompatible with its ‘mobile' role.
Patterns would have to be submitted to the inspector of Regimental Colours and the first TF Battalion to do so was the 4th Battalion The Queen's Royal Regiment. Their colour design was approved on 2nd November 1908 and made by Messers Hobsons and Sons at a cost of 47 pounds and 10 shillings.
Prior to 1914, the only Battle Honour that the units were permitted to display on the Regimental colour was that of ‘South Africa', a Battle Honour awarded to units of the volunteer force who had supplied reinforcement companies to the Regular Army during the Boer War. In the fullness of time, many other Battle Honours would be added to the Colours of Territorial Battalions and the Guidons of Yeomanry Regiments.
The majority of Territorial Infantry and Yeomanry from the Home Counties would recieve their Colours from HM King Edward VII at Windsor Great Park on June 19th 1909.
As soon as the Battalions of the Territorial Force were mobilised in August 1914, all raised a second line Battalion and some a third and Fourth. These units were known as ‘War raised Battalions’.
On December 2nd 1918 General Routine Order 5734 announced that His Majesty King George V was graciously pleased to approve that war raised Battalions of the Regular Army and Territorial Force (Rifle Battalions excepted) would be presented with a silk Union Flag.
The distribution of the Flags began December 1918. They were machine made and the pikes had a plain Spear Head Finial rather than the usual gilt Royal crest. The Flags were plain but any Battalion was free to add its titles and number (and later battle Honours) at unit expense.
Army Council Instruction No 444 of the 21st July 1919 stated that His Majesty The King commanded that as the Flags would represent the Kings Colour they should now be presented and consecrated and as such would be granted the usual salutes and compliments authorised to be paid to Colours
By the time the presentation and consecration of the Colours took place, most of the Battalions concerned had been disbanded and the formal laying up of each Colour followed almost immediately.
The following register of Colours that have been laid up and may still be seen includes that of the Drake Battalion of the London Division of the RNVR as well as the Standards of 600 (City of London) Squadron, 601 (County of London) Squadron and 604 (County of Middlesex) Squadron, all presented in 1952.
All the Colours, Guidons and Standards displayed were originally presented to Units with HQ locations within the Greater London area.