Red ties

This article was written by Robert Wilson.

A lot of very old photographs show that at the turn of the century the 3rd were wearing red ties. Indeed a membership card for the year 1909/09 states that red ties should be worn as part of the “review order”. This uniform was only used at special parades, such as Royal Reviews and the annual Inspection and Sports, held every Whit Monday in the Town Park. This fact gives clues to the nature of the coloured ties. The sports competition was first held in 1893 when the 3rd Enfield won it; the early competitions were held in the Brigade Field which was in Chase Side. As time passed this annual event became more and more popular. By 1900, the three original Enfield BB Companies had grown to five. A new venue was needed, so a move was made to the Enfield Town Park in 1903. Many local people would come and support this annual event. In 1903 Mr Hardman presented the newly formed Battalion with some Colours which became known as the Hardman Colours. The first competition for the new Colours took part at the annual Inspection and Sports.

There was great build up to the competition: who was going to win, the 3rd Enfield or the 1st Enfield? But drilling on grass is a bit different to drilling on a hard floor in a hall, so practice on grass was needed. The 3rd were fortunate in having a private cricket ground called Madison’s Field. There they put on extra drill practices, while at the end of the field and separated by only a low fence and some trees, the 1st Enfield could be heard preparing for the forthcoming contest.

The 3rd worked like trojans, with one eye on the Colours and the other on the 1st Enfield. At last the day arrived and the Battalion found themselves in the Town Park.

Some amusement was caused by the arrival on the ground of a mascot shaped like a dog. This dog was brought down by an ex-member of the 1st Enfield and had a huge blue bow on its collar and a red bow on its tail. No doubt this was meant to be prophetic of the positions of the two Companies after the competition, but this was not to be: the 3rd Enfield won by 259 marks to the 1st Enfield’s 248 marks. They also went on to win the Sports Cup as well.

Since the formation of the 1st Enfield in 1888, their Company colour has been blue. The 3rd Enfield also introduced a Company colour in the very beginning of its life and that was red. The colour red was decided on by the then Company Captain Mr T R Plowman. But having coloured ties was a new thing which was instituted in the very first annual Inspection in the Town Park, by having coloured ties the public could recognise the different Companies taking part, in the parade through the Town, the drill competition and the inspection.

In later years a megaphone was used to announce the results of the competition and an appropriately coloured flag was raised; the winners colours on top, second just below and third below them.

So the first outing to the Company’s red ties was complete.