The Fort Garry Horse Regimental Guidon
The Guidon or regimental colours, are the memorial of the regimental deeds and the symbol of its spirit. At one time they were carried on active service and were the rallying point of the regiment. Regimental colours can be traced in English history as far back as 1585, and in world history colours or standards were carried by the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians before our present calendar was started.
The colours of a cavalry regiment are traditionally in the form of a Guidon or swallow-tailed flag which derived its name from the French Guyd-homme (guide man), who would lead by carrying a flag. It is interesting to note that on the Guidon of the armoured regiments which have no cavalry background the white Hanoverain horse is replace by a white Ram. This tradition dates back to 1715 when regiments which fought actively against the revolutionaries, and in support of King George were authorised to carry the Hanover Horse on their colours as symbolic of “true” cavalry regiments. The request for a Guidon for the Fort Garry Horse was made in 1957 and was approved by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, in September 1960.
The Militia regiment received its Guidon from the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, the Honourable Eric F. Willis, on 11 May 1963. As the Regular Regiment had been formed in 1958, a second Guidon was made and presented to them by Field Marshall, The Right Honourable, the Earl Alexander of Tunis. The Guidon was presented to the senior Sergeant-Major of both units, following the cavalry tradition in which complete trust is vested in the non-commissioned officers to carry the Guidon.
During the traditional service of consecrating the Guidon, the members of the Garrys dedicated themselves “to the service of God and Queen for the maintenance of honour and good government” and dedicated their Guidon “to the hallowed memory of their comrades and in the remembrance of the oath never to unfurl the Guidon except in the cause of justice and righteousness”.
The Guidon is made of silk damask, embroidered and fringed with gold, mounted on a lance. To the top left hand corner of the Guidon are attached tassels and cords of crimson silk and gold cord mixed. The Guidon itself measures 3 feet 5 inches in length and 2 feet 3 inches in depth exclusive on the fringe which is about two inches in length.
It is not customary for a regimental badge to appear in its entirety as the central device of a Guidon. Consequently, the Guidon for the Fort Garry Horse bears the gate of Upper Fort Garry without the maple leaf background as the main emblem. It is placed within a crimson circle bearing in gold letters the title of the regiment. Enclosing the title and the gate is a wreath of autumnal tinted maple leaves, joined together at the bottom by a scroll bearing the Regimental Motto and surmounted by St. Edward’s crown.
In the first and fourth corners appears the white Horse of Hanover, which is authorised to be borne on Standards and Guidons of regiments which were formerly cavalry. The abbreviated title of the Fort Garry Horse appears in the second and third corners within a wreath of autumnal tinted maple leaves.
The battle honours of the regiment which have been approved for emblazonment appear on either side of the central emblem, their chronology being from left to right, beginning at the top with the exception of the battle honour “North West Canada 1885, which appears beneath the Regimental Motto.