Keep the Colours campaign could pay off this week

A DECISION is expected this week on the final laying-up place of the colours belonging to the King’s Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB). Ed Swales, president of the KOSB Association Berwick Branch, began a campaign in November to keep the colours in Berwick.

In an attemp to show the depth of feeling towards the KOSB from the “regimental family”, ordinary members of the public as well as those with military ties were asked to back Berwick.

Mr Swales said that he was overwhelmed by the response not just from ‘KOSBies’ but from their families and descendants.

“The reaction up to the original deadline (December 17) was astounding. I was able to go to the trustees with such a strong majority supporting Berwick that they had to consider an extra review period up until their next AGM.”

That AGM will be held this Friday, May 25, and will decide whether the colours are retired to Berwick, Edinburgh Castle or Canongate Kirk.

Mr Swales was able to show the KOSB trustees the enduring military history of Berwick, which holds the first purpose-built barracks in Britain, and remembers KOSB involvement in the 1759 Battle of Minden with an annual parade.

“The Minden Parade has grown and grown,” Mr Swales continued, “until last year we had more than 400 former KOSB’s on parade.”

The KOSB has a proud history going back over 300 years. It has seen action in some of the most decisive military campaigns Britain has waged, including two World Wars and recent peacekeeping in Iraq. The regiment has been awarded six Victoria Crosses, for valour “in the face of the enemy”.

Up until a massive Government Defence Review in 2004, the KOSB was one of only five infantry regiments never to be amalgamated.

In 2006 the KOSB joined with the Royal Scots to form the Royal Scots Borderers. The KOSB colours were paraded before the Queen for the last time last year, and are currently held at Dreghorn, in Edinburgh.