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TOMMY ATKINS AND THE COLORS.

A casual remark in a letter of Lord Wolseley to the D<:an of Lichfield Cathedral furnisheß a curious proof of the way-in whioh modern warfare is developing into something utterly unlike the bygone style lind ancient features of belligerence. The old oolors of that gallant regiment the 64th Foot have been presented, or are to be, to the Dean and Chapter for the purpose of being placed on the Walls of the oathedral. The Commander-in-Chief, in speaking of the precious symbols, took occasion to observe to. the ecolesiastical dignitaries concerned that it would not be possible in the future to deposit such valued trophies for preservation and reverence, for the very good reason that none would ever again be borne in the old glorious manner amid the ranks of battle. "In future," wrote Lord Wolseley, "it would be madness and a crime to order any soldier to carry colors into action. You might quite as well order him to be assassinated. The Germans carry the poles on which the colors used to bs so that they attract no notice in action. We have had most reluctantly to adaudon a practice to which we attached great importance, and which, under past and gone conditions of fighting, was invaluable in keeping alive the regimental spirit upon which our British troops depended so much." All war has been transformed by the invention of the farreaohing and fate-dealing rifle and automatic gun, with which an enemy kills whose face is hot even seen. Bittles were much more picturesque and interesting in those Homeric times when the foeman addressed some hisjhly-spirited remarks to hia adversary before commencing business, to which he responded with perfect and leisurely animosity, afterwards exchanging spears or arrows, and proceeding wish great decorum to the hand-to-hand combat. To-day nobody can know why he is killed, or by whom. Bayonets and sword-blades seldom, if ever, cross and clash ; it is almost all reduced to a mechanical interchange of volleys and salvoes, with short, fierce rushes at the last, in which there is no place for the dignity and grace of the antique " Battle of the Standard." Oa the colors of the 64th are inscribed many a noble record of valor and " derring-do." The names are there of Luoknow and Khoosh-ab, of Persia and the Punjab, of Sari nam and Santa Lucia, and the dragon of China writhes and glitters in gold and crimson under the white plumes of the Prince of Wales. Where shall we write these brave blazoninga now, if the regiments mußt not and dare not carry their colors into an engagement? They may be engraved upon the mess plate, or painted up in the orderly room, but Lord Wolseley says that they can never bo borne again in the van of the advancing line, for he who carries them, though he were braver than Alexander, would fall riddled with bullets as soon as the silk fluttered out to the breeze—London 4 Telegraph.'

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18971018.2.47

Bibliographic details

TOMMY ATKINS AND THE COLORS., Evening Star, Issue 10447, 18 October 1897

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498

TOMMY ATKINS AND THE COLORS. Evening Star, Issue 10447, 18 October 1897

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