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l l THIS em­broi­dery was pro­duced in In­dia by a sol­dier serv­ing with the 2nd Bat­tal­ion of the Manch­ester Reg­i­ment in 1896.

The sk­il­ful needle­work de­pict­ing the bat­tal­ion’s Colours, em­blems and bat­tle honours gives us a sense of the pride he felt for the his­tory and tra­di­tions of the reg­i­ment.

Dur­ing the late nine­teenth cen­tury reg­i­ments of the British army com­prised two bat­tal­ions. Dur­ing peace time one bat­tal­ion would be sta­tioned at home while the other served abroad, usu­ally in In­dia.

The 2nd Bat­tal­ion had been in In­dia since the 1880s help­ing to se­cure the North­ern fron­tier against Rus­sian in­va­sion. By the mid-1890s they were gar­risoned in Dana­pur in what is now the state of Bihar in North East In­dia.

Dur­ing this time there was an out­break of cholera which re­quired men to be quar­an­tined in a sep­a­rate camp. Per­haps the sol­dier pro­duced this em­broi­dery while re­cov­er­ing from ill­ness, or sim­ply to re­lieve bore­dom in the bar­racks.

Reg­i­men­tal flags known as Colours were first used to help organise troops and act as a ral­ly­ing point in the chaos of bat­tle. It was con­sid­ered a great dis­hon­our for them to fall into en­emy hands and ev­ery ef­fort was made to pro­tect them.

To­day they have a cer­e­mo­nial func­tion and help to pass on reg­i­men­tal his­tory to new ser­vice­men and women.

The King’s or Queen’s Colour is typ­i­cally the Union Flag with ad­di­tional mo­tifs re­lated to the reg­i­ment. The other, known as the Reg­i­men­tal or Sec­ond Colour lists the reg­i­ment’s bat­tle honours.

This em­broi­dery can be seen in a new ex­hi­bi­tion ‘Stitch­ing Sto­ries’ at Cen­tral Art Gallery in Ash­ton-un­der-Lyne.

The gallery is open Tues­days, Wed­nes­days and Fri­days from 10am to 12.30pm and 1pm to 4pm. It is open 10am to 1pm on Satur­days.

Fol­low us on Twit­ter @tm­bc_­cul­ture to find out about ex­hi­bi­tions and events across Tameside’s mu­se­ums and gal­leries.

Em­broi­dered Colours of the Manch­ester Reg­i­ment

The Reg­i­ment’s Bat­tle Honours

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