In military organizations, the practice of carrying colours or standards
, to act both as a rallying point for troops, and to mark the location of the commander, is thought to have originated in Ancient Egypt
some 5,000 years ago. It was formalised in the armies of medieval Europe
, with standards being emblazoned with the commander's coat of arms
As armies became trained and adopted set formations, each regiment's ability to keep its formation was potentially critical to its, and therefore its army's, success. In the chaos of battle, not least due to the amount of dust and smoke on a battlefield, soldiers needed to be able to determine where their regiment was.
In the British Army the medieval standards developed into the Colours of the Infantry, the Standards of the Heavy Cavalry, and the Guidons of the Light Cavalry.
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Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
1 May 1769 – 14 September 1852), was an Anglo-Irish
soldier and statesman
. He was one of the leading military and political figures of the nineteenth century.
Born in Ireland to a prominent Ascendancy family, he was commissioned an ensign in the British Army in 1787. Serving in Ireland as aide-de-camp to two successive Lords Lieutenant of Ireland he was also elected as member of Parliament in the Irish House of Commons. A colonel by 1796, Wellesley saw action in the Netherlands and later India where he fought in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War at the Battle of Seringapatam. He was later appointed Governor of Seringapatam and Mysore.
Wellesley soon rose to prominence as a General during the early Napoleonic Wars. In the Peninsular Campaign he led the Allied forces to victory against the French and after the Battle of Vitoria in 1813, was granted a Dukedom and promoted to the rank of field marshal. Serving as the ambassador to France following the exile of Napoleon, he returned to fight Napoleon's forces after the Hundred Days. This culminated at the Battle of Waterloo, which saw the defeat of the French Emperor and a decisive coalition victory.
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