Catalog Image
Catalog Image

Catalog Image



Reverse detail

Reverse detail

Reverse section

Reverse section

Reverse detail

Reverse detail

Obverse detail

Obverse detail

Obverse detail

Obverse detail

Reverse detail

Reverse detail

Reverse Details

Reverse Details

Obverse/Reverse Details

Obverse/Reverse Details


United Kingdom 5th Royal Veteran Battalion.

Sub-collection: Napoleonic Wars & War of 1812

U.K. 5th Royal Veteran's Reserve Regiment circa 1812, deaccessed from the Smithsonian.

This post 1801 British Infantry Color can be distinguished from its predecessors by the diagonal, so-called St. Patrick's red counter-changed cross in the canton. Used between 1802 and 1819, this un-faded, embroidered, silk color was carried by the 5th Royal Veteran Battalion

The British Army, like many of its European counterparts, formed Invalid and later Veteran Battalions. These were separate battalions manned with veteran volunteers who had been previously discharged from regular service on account of wounds, age or illness.

Contrary to what the "invalid" title may convey, these were well-trained veterans and subsequently were a respectable force. An "invalid" was simply a pensioner, whether disabled or not. Being of limited physical capability, the veterans had only light duties in a home defense role.

These battalions were fashioned by recruiting or transferring veterans into garrison forts, which allowed other soldiers to perform strenuous field duty. Battalions of generally six companies were formed of pensioners; those accepted were less than fifty-five years of age and had served less than twenty-four years in the cavalry or twenty-one years in the infantry. These individuals had been discharged as privates and were willing to reenlist.

During the Napoleonic Wars (1803 to 1815) these troops were called Veterans Battalions and were composed of low, medical-grade troops who were generally given independent garrison duties and were ideal for Channel Islands service.

In 1802, the 5th Royal Garrison Battalion raised in Guernsey, Channel Islands, and was re-formed and disbanded several times. The most noted reformation of the Battalion was their last re-formation in 1819 at Shrewsbury. The group was charged to station in case they were needed to quell domestic unrest following the "Peterloo Massacre."

The Peterloo Massacre of August 16, 1819 was a charge into a meeting of the Manchester Patriotic Union Society being held for impoverished workers and their families, at St Peter's Fields, Manchester, England. The meeting's organizers also called for parliamentary reform and the repeal of the Corn Laws, import tariffs designed to support the market for British corn.

After the event, the government supported the action of the army and several of the Royal Veterans Battalions were re-formed, including the 5th Royal Veteran Battalion. They were disbanded for the final time in 1821 at Shrewsbury.

This color of 5th Royal Veteran Battalion was formerly part of the Smithsonian Institution's collection. This flag was part of the large militaria collection bequeathed in 1979 by Charles Bremner Hogg Jackson to the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. In 1996 The Smithsonian de-accessed many of its non-American relics. This flag was part of that group.

It is a rare and exceptional color and may be the only such Napoleonic Wars color in the United States.

ZFC Significant Flag
Item is Framed

• 5th Royal Veteran Battalion, 1802 - 1821.
• By descent.
• Acquired by The Charles Brenner Hogg Jackson Collection, until 1979.
• By bequest to the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC until deaccessed 1995.
• Sold via Butterfield & Butterfield Auctions, SF, CA, to the Zaricor Flag Collection, 1996.


Fosten, Bryan, Wellington's Infantry, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, 1982, p.20.

Sumner, Ina, British Colors & standards 1747-1881, (2), Osprey Publishing, Oxford, 2001.

The Charles Bremner Hogg Jackson Collection: bequest to The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, Butterfield & Butterfield Auction, San Francisco, 1996, p. 207.

United Kingdom: Royal Reserve Battalions, Flags of the World, 25 October 2011, from:

Royal Garrison Battalions - Napoleonic era,, 25 October 2011, from:

Peterloo Massacre, Wikipedia, 25 October 2011, from:

Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 69
Length of Fly 66.75


Width of Union/Canton 23.5
Length of Union/Canton 22.75


Size of Hoist 2.5


Is it framed? yes
Frame Height 80
Frame Length 80


Are there stars on obverse? no
Are there stars on reverse? no


Has a Blood Stripe? no


Description of Crest/Emblem On a green background (now faded brown) is, in canton, a Union Jack, post 1801. Centered in the field is the Royal Cipher of George the 5th. The cipher is red surrounded by a Garter of the highest order of shivery. Inscribed is Evil to He Who Thinks Evil and it is encircled by garland of the 3 kingdoms (thistle, rose, and shamrock). Red represents the English. The white diagonal stripe represents St. Andrew, Scotland. The red diagonal is representative of Ireland.
Centered is a royal cypher, inside a "union" wreath depicting the floral attributes of England, Scotland and England, all above a scroll.


Nation Represented United Kingdom


Fabric Silk


Stitching Hand


Type of Weave Plain


Comments on Method of Attachmen red sleeve
Method of Attachment Sleeve


Applique Sides Double Sided = Two sides different


Research Documents


Condition Fair
Damage Used, worn, severe fracturing and some fabric loss.
Flag has been encapsulated.
Displayable yes


Date 1812-1814