Guidon symbolic tie to Crown

01:19, Jan 15 2013
Fine handiwork: The Nelson Marlborough Mounted Rifles guidon is on permanent loan to Marlborough Museum.

Maike van der Heide looks back at Marlborough's history through the stories of some of the treasures at Marlborough Museum. 

For many years, this silk Nelson Marlborough Mounted Rifles guidon hung high and proud in Blenheim's Nativity Church.

A ceremony for the presentation of the regiment's new colours, made in England, was held in 1936 at Woodbourne Estate at Fairhall, during the Nelson Marlborough Mounted Rifles annual camp.

It was consecrated by the Bishop of Nelson, William Hilliard, and later presented to the regiment by the the governor-general, Viscount Galway, who commented that the regiment had served with distinction in the Boer War and World War I, but would speak no further of those "dark days" of war.

The governor-general said the guidon symbolised loyalty to the Crown, ideals which were shared by everyone both in peace and in war, and a love for the throne.

Colonel F C Hammond, the commanding officer of the regiment, received the guidon.


After the camp the colour was taken to the Church of the Nativity for safekeeping, to be used by the regiment every time it was mobilised for training.

But through the years the flag's own weight and exposure to light took their toll on the ageing material and it was decided the guidon should be kept in a dark space at Marlborough Museum, where it is on permanent loan.

Although a replica was made for display in the church, the original is available for special occasions.

Marlborough Museum, Arthur Baker Place, Blenheim, open 10am to 4pm daily.

The Marlborough Express