The Irish Harp

The Irish Harp is an ancient device borne on the Colours of the Worcestershire Militia.

The Militia was one of the Regiments who volunteered for service in Ireland at the time of the Rebellion of 1798. For their distinguished services four Militia Regiments were granted the Harp to wear on their colours—Worcestershire, Cambridgeshire, Herefordshire and Leicestershire. The official letter was not preserved. When the Militia was reorganised in 1852 all the old order books were burnt as rubbish.

The Harp appeared on the oldest Regimental Colour in existence, that presented in 1854, and then it was shown to the satisfaction of the authorities of the War Office and the College of Heralds that it had been borne on the former Regimental Colour, carried from 1809 to 1837.

In 1884 and 1885 a correspondence ensued with the War Office and the College of Heralds as to the right of the Regiment to bear the distinction, with the result that it was approved by Her Majesty. The following letter was received on the subject:


Horse Guards, War Office, May 12th, 1885.


I have the honour, by the desire of the Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief, to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 23rd February, forwarding an application from the Officer Com­manding the 29th Regimental District, that the 3rd Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment be permitted to bear on its Regimental Colour the Irish Harp, and to acquaint you that Her Majesty has been graciously pleased, on the recommendation of His Royal Highness, to accede to the application.

I have, etc.,

J.B. Harman, D.A.G.

The General Officer

Commanding Western District, Davenport.

The last Regimental Colour to bear the Harp was that of the 2nd Battalion of the Worcestershire Militia, formed in 1874. Later they became the 4th Battalion and then, in 1900, the 6th Battalion. This Colour are held in the Regimental Museum. When the 5th Battalion colours were renewed in 1914, the Colours were in accordance with the pattern carried by the Regular Battalions, except that the Regular battle honours were not borne. These were only added after the Great War.