Since Antiquity, military units have traditionally fought with a standard, which served as a visible rallying point in battle.
During the Revolutionary War, according to British Army custom, the Queen’s Rangers had two sets of colours: The King’s Colour, a flag that displays the Union Jack with the Regiment’s badge at the centre, and the Regimental Colour, bearing the badge against a background of the same shade of green as the uniform.
When the Regiment was forced to surrender after the defeat at Yorktown on 19 October, 1781, the colours were furled for the lat time. Remarkably, however, they were not captured along with many of the other colours of the British Army, but were smuggled out in the sick bed of a wounded officer.
John Graves Simcoe kept the colours in his house, Wolford Lodge in Devon, and there they remained until they were rediscovered in the 1920. In the 1970s, they were restored by the Royal Ontario Museum, and gifted to the Toronto Reference Library.
They are now proudly displayed in the Officers’ Mess in Fort York Armoury, and are the Regiment’s most cherished possession.