St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
St George's Park - The Consecration of the Queen’s Colours
The Consecration of the Queen’s Colours
A most interesting sight was witnessed in Port Elizabeth during the presentation of the Queen's Colours to the volunteer's corps on Saturday, the May 6, 1876, on the cricket ground at St George's Park.
The title of Prince Alfred's Guard was granted to the Regiment the previous year by the Duke of Edinburgh. His name was dear to colonists, none more than Bayonians, who cherished the remberance of his first visit to Port Elizabeth in I860. He landed here on the 6th August, his l6th birthday, as a midshipman on board the "Eurgala."
On that occasion the Rifle Volunteers were his guard during the week spent here. Hence the willingness to bestow the tide on the Corps.
The weather on Saturday morning was rainy, and it was feared the ceremony would have to be postponed, but in the afternoon it cleared up, and a large crowd of ladies and gentlemen assembled at the cricket ground.
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Prince Alfred's Guard Badge
Four companies were drawn up in line in review order, and then formed into three sides of a square. The Colours rested upon drums piled in the centre, under the charge of Sergeants Finn and Storey and Colour-Sergeant Cameron.
The captains then took charge and the Rev AT Wirgman, Chaplain of the Corps, conducted Mrs Wylde, wife of the Civil Commissioner, into the square from the pavilion, followed by the Mayor and Mrs Pearson, Mrs Robert Stewart, Mrs J Walker, Mrs Farie, Mrs F Crozier, Mrs DF Stewart, Mrs E Carstens, Mrs Andrews, Mrs G Deare, Mrs O'Flaherty, Mrs MacFarlane, and Mrs GE Thompson.
The Colours were then uncased by the senior lieutenants and the Chaplain consecrated them by offering up a prayer.
The Colours were made of a magnificent hand embroidered scarlet silk with a crown on the Queen's Colour, with the Duke's arms in a wreath of laurel leaves on the Regimental Colours. The tide on a scroll read "Prince Alfred's Guard". The Colours were finished with a gold fringe and tassels.
Then Captain R Stewart handed the Queen's Colour to Mrs Wylde, who presented it to a kneeling Lieutenant G Deare. Captain W Kirkwood, of the Highland Company, then took the Regimental Colour and presented it to Lieutenant E Morris.
Mrs Wylde addressed die Corps and said:
"Officers and members of Prince Alfred's Volunteer Guard, it affords me the sincerest pleasure in being deputed to present you these Colours. I hope they will increase not only the bond of union amongst yourselves, but also the remembrance of your duty.
"I and all the ladies of Port Elizabeth wish you continued success in the good work you have undertaken for self-defence as auxiliary forces. We expect that these standards will never want for men at Port Elizabeth to rally round them. Good luck attend you."
Commandant Wylde, in reply on behalf of the corps, thanked Mrs Wylde and the ladies of Port Elizabeth most heartily for the compliment paid to them, and for their good wishes for continued success.
He called upon the Guard for three hearty cheers for Mrs Wylde and the ladies of Port Elizabeth, which was responded to with a cheer as only Britons can give.
The line was then reformed, and die Colours received with a general salute. They were then placed in front on the left of the line in charge of sergeants and escort, and the band in front of the right of the line, and the Guards handed over by the Adjutant to the Commandant. Mrs Wylde advanced to the front of the line and presented a number of awards.
The Guards were then reviewed and the Colour trooped. The ceremony concluded with a march past. The event lasted about a half hour.
As the Guards marched back to the Donkin monument, headed by their band, it occurred to many a spectator that the town ought to be proud of them.