Proud Dukes lay down their colours

THE Dukes have laid their historic colours to rest in a moving ceremony.

Soldiers in full dress uniform marched through Halifax on Saturday, led by a band and followed by veterans and their families.

The troops followed the regiment's flags to Halifax Parish Church where Mayor of Calderdale Colin Stout inspected the ranks with the top brass. Bayonets glinted in the spring sunshine as the flags snapped in the wind. The soliders stamped polished boots as they presented arms.

Major Paul Fox said: "The Dukes has changed into the Yorkshire Regiment. Each regiment has a set of colours which historically they carry in to battle. We have laid up the Dukes' colours in preparation to take on the Yorkshire colours.

"It is both a happy and a sad occasion. It is sad that we are effectively laying to rest the Duke Of Wellington's Regiment but it is good that we are marching through our home town to show that we are still here and proud to be here. It means a lot to us."

The colours were blessed during a church service. They will be displayed in the Parish Church along with other historic flags.

John Shaw, of Brighouse, served as a captain with the Dukes from 1944. He marched with the parade through the town centre.

"It is great to be able to come out today. But it is very sad that it is the last trooping of the colours for the regiment because we have a proud history that stretches back centuries. I am proud to be a Duke and I always will be," he said.

The Yorkshire Regiment was formed in June last year and includes The Duke of Wellington's Regiment, The Prince of Wales' Own Regiment and The Green Howards. The merger was opposed by MPs, soldiers and their families as well as thousands who joined a Courier campaign to save the Dukes, which included a petition to Westmister and huge rally through Halifax.