The Flash

     The Flash The Royal Welch Fusiliers have a distinction that is unique among the British Army, and that is the right to wear the 'Flash' of five black ribbons on the collar as seen on the 1856 tunic to the right. It is a relic of the days when soldiers wore pigtails which, because of the grease, were enclosed in what was known as a 'queue bag'. In 1808, when the Army abolished pigtails, the Regiment was serving in Nova Scotia, Canada and refused to comply with the order. When eventually it dispensed with pigtails the regiment retained the ribbons, known as a Flash, which had secured them.


Photo Courtesy of Keith Perks
The Thin Red Line

     In 1834, an inspecting General ordered the Flash to be  removed but the matter was referred to King William IV who officially granted the Flash, "...as a peculiarity whereby to mark the dress of that distinguished Regiment". At the time of the WW1, Lord Kitchener suggested that the Flash should not be worn because it was an aiming mark for the enemy. King George V overruled him stating that the enemy would never see the backs of the Royal Welch Fusiliers. To this day, the Flash is worn by all serving Royal Welchmen.