Royal British Legion Maybole - Trooping of the Colours
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Maybole branch take back their colours from Culzean in preparation for Gala day's unique "Trooping of the Colour"

Highlight of the afternoon was Maybole branch of the Royal British Legion in a unique ceremony to Troop their Colours. Maybole Pipe Band led the colours into the arena and the legion members were inspected by Major George Hay, Depute Lord Lieutenant. Dunaskin Doon Band played a selection of music during the ceremony.


Rev Dave Whiteman recounted the history of the formation of the British Legion in 1921. He said, “On 18th June 1921 a Unity Conference was held by Field Marshal Lord Haig in Edinburgh's Usher Hall at which over one hundred ex-service associations met and agreed to come together under the title The British Legion. These associations then had to go back to their members to get their agreement.


Immediately after that meeting in Edinburgh Field Marshal Lord Haig was at Culzean Castle on a visit to the Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire, The Marquess of Ailsa and from that visit a communication was sent to Mr Hugh Fairlie, Provost of Maybole who in turn instructed Mr John W Best MM, who was the only remaining member of the Soldiers and Sailors Society left in Maybole, to arrange a public meeting in Maybole Coffee House on 28th June 1921.


“That meeting was chaired by Captain A Ramsay MC and a Maybole Branch was formed under the title British Legion and became the first Branch to be formed in the United Kingdom. “Two months later in August the title became The British Legion (Scotland) when Earl Haig formed a British Legion in London.


“In 1971 during Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee the Royal title was added and it became The Royal British Legion Scotland. “On 30th June 1996 the first Branch Standard held by Maybole Branch was laid up for safekeeping at Culzean Castle and is retained in the main entrance to the Armoury. “The two Standards you see on parade today are that first Standard and the current Branch Standard which was dedicated during an Area event on Low Green, Ayr, on 29th June 1997.


“We are proud to have the opportunity to Troop our Colours here today in this unique ceremony and that Maybole is the oldest Branch of The Royal British Legion in the UK.” The branch were celebrating four events in one - H M The Queen's 80th birthday, National Veteran's Day, the 85th Anniversary of the Royal British Legion Scotland, and their own 85th Anniversary.


The ceremony of Trooping the Colour dates back to the 17th century when the Colours of a Regiment were used as a rallying point in battle and were therefore “Trooped” every day to ensure that every man could recognise those of his own Regiment.


British troops last carried Colours into action in 1881, 125 years ago, during the First Boer War and since then the custom of Trooping has been retained as a symbolic occasion for The Colours which embodies a unit’s prestige and esprit de corps. Since 1805 The Household Brigade have Trooped their Colours in honour of the Sovereign’s Birthday.