Berwick Barracks wins battle to house King’s Own Scottish Borderers colours

CAMPAIGNERS were celebrating yesterday after winning a battle to bring a historic Army regiment’s last colours to Northumberland.

The Kings Own Scottish Borderers on parade
The Kings Own Scottish Borderers on parade

CAMPAIGNERS were celebrating yesterday after winning a battle to bring a historic Army regiment’s last colours to Northumberland.

Berwick emerged victorious from a skirmish with rival Edinburgh to become the permanent home of the prized flag of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB).

Berwick Barracks – which is home to the KOSB’s headquarters and museum – will be the final resting place for the colours, which display the battle honours of the 300-year-old regiment.

The flag is currently in safe keeping at barracks in Edinburgh, after being paraded before the Queen for the last time in July last year.

It was destined to end up in one of three places – the Scottish National War Museum at Edinburgh Castle, Canongate Kirk, also in Edinburgh, or Berwick Barracks.

Now the KOSB’s regimental council has ruled in favour of the Northumberland town as the permanent home for the colours, which will eventually be put on display in the regimental museum.

Six months ago Ed Swales, who served in the regiment for eight years and is president of the Berwick branch of the KOSB Association, launched a campaign for the town to get the colours.

He launched a website asking for people to back Berwick by casting their vote for the town online.

Yesterday Mr Swales, 43, was informed of the final decision, and said trustees on the KOSB regimental council had voted unanimously for Berwick.

“It is a brilliant conclusion to the campaign, and without a shadow of a doubt this is the correct, appropriate and respectful decision for our regimental legacy,” he said.

Mr Swales said he expects the colours to be welcomed to Berwick Barracks in a laying up and blessing ceremony some time next year.

He expects the arrival to coincide with an annual gathering and parade of KOSB veterans and their families in Berwick to commemorate the Battle of Minden in Germany, which took place in 1759. Among the British forces was the 25th Regiment of Foot, which went on to become the KOSB.

The regiment was created in Edinburgh in 1689 but moved to Berwick in 1881. In 1887, it acquired the title of The King’s Own Scottish Borderers. In 2006, the Royal Scots and KOSB battalions merged to form the 1st (Royal Scots Borderers) Battalion of the new regiment.

Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith said: “I’m delighted and congratulate the campaigners and all those who signed up to the campaign.”

Last night Brigadier Andrew Jackson, chairman of the KOSB trustees, said he too was delighted the decision had gone in Berwick’s favour. “We were keen to ensure that these historic colours went to the right place and so wanted to seek the views of Association members. There was a clear view expressed in favour of the museum at Berwick.”

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