Final part of flag is handed over at castle ceremony

Members of the Dean Castle Textile Team and East Ayrshire Leisure museum staff, alongside Provost Jim Todd, handed over the final part of the replica Napoleonic flag to representatives of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards at a ceremony held in the castle on Wednesday, October 4.


The cravat, a ribbon which hangs from the finial of a flag, was one of two made by Textile Team volunteers Doreen Flett and Patsy McSpadyen to complete two of the three replica flags produced by the team for the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. The cravats were not complete when the Standards were handed over in 2015.


Accepting the cravat on behalf of the regiment were regimental secretary Major Jamie Erskine MBE and assistant curator of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Regimental Museum, Paul Newman.


On June 18, 1815, the Battle of Waterloo was fought in Belgium and saw the end of Emperor Napoleon's attempts to rule Europe. One of the key moments in the battle was the capture of one of the Standards and Eagle – a battle flag with an Imperial Eagle on top – from Napoleon’s elite 45th Regiment of the Line by Sergeant Charles Ewart, who was born in Kilmarnock in 1769.


Hailed a hero after his act of bravery, Ewart was given a commission as an ensign (a second lieutenancy) in the 5th Veteran Battalion in 1816. After his death in 1846 he was buried in New Jerusalem Chapel graveyard in Salford, however his grave was eventually paved over and was discovered under a builder’s yard in 1936. In1938 his remains were reinterred on Edinburgh Castle’s esplanade. Ensign Ewart is the only soldier to have received this honour.


The original Standard and Eagle are kept at The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Regimental Museum at Edinburgh Castle, alongside one of the double-sided silk replica Standards made by the Textile Team and handed over in 2015. Another of the replicas was presented to a member of the Royal Family in the East India Club in London during the anniversary events, and the third remains in East Ayrshire Leisure’s museums collection and will be completed by the second of the cravats made by the Textile Team. The museums collection also includes original objects and documents, musical instruments, a uniform and weapons from the Napoleonic Wars.


Waterloo is the main battle honour of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and the regiment marks the victory and honours those lost in battle on June 18 every year. The heroic actions of the regiment came at a cost, with 200 men and 224 horses either killed or wounded.


East Ayrshire museums officer Linda Fairlie, who assists the Textile Team, said: “It has been quite emotional working on the Standards and cravats and knowing the work will last for hundreds of years, after we are all gone. It also makes you think of the young men who died, not just at Waterloo, but throughout the long conflict with France.


“Each Standard took around four months and 3000 ‘woman’ hours to complete, and we did our best to replicate these as faithfully as possible.”


The Dean Castle Textile Team project is now in its 11th year and is made up of local volunteers working alongside a member of museums staff from East Ayrshire Leisure Trust. As well as producing the Standards and cravats, the team have worked on a wide range of projects including producing replicas of two curtains dating from 1700 which normally hang in the Banqueting Hall of Dean Castle, making costumes for East Ayrshire Youth Theatre, creating display pieces for Burns House Museum in Mauchline and various items for educational use.


Anyone interested in the work of the Textile Team can contact Linda at Dean Castle.