Following on from a recent thread about Lanyards, i dug out this RA aspect which I found quite interesting if not disturbing. Rob A LANYARD COLOURED WHITE “The Artillery wear a white lanyard as a penance - they deserted their guns whilst under fire - it’s a sign of cowardice”. How many times has this story been related?. In fact it seems that every recruit passing through Army Recruit Training Centre is told in full detail, of our “shameful” past. The only problem is that no one can remember the battle, nor the date, of this act of “abandonment”; a good number of people however seem to think that it took place somewhere in South Africa during the Second Boer War. It is strange how stories can develop out of sheer ignorance. The battle so often referred to in the “lanyard - cowardice” story would appear to be Colenso, which took place in December 1899, where the 14th and 66th Field Batteries RA were in support. The battle of Colenso is a story in itself and is so too long and involved to be recounted here, however in short the Gunners deployed too close to the Boers’ forward trenches and came under heavy murderous fire. Many of the Gunners were killed, others badly wounded, and yet the guns continued to be served, one of them up until the last of the detachment were killed. Numerous attempts were made to rescue the guns, including troops of both the Devonshire Regiment and the Scots Fusiliers, but they were stopped by the Boers’ heavy fire. Finally a mixed band of volunteers, which included a number of Gunners, made good. On horseback they stormed the gun position, and at great cost of life, they limbered-up what guns they could and made for safety. General Sir Redvers Buller, the British commander in the battle, then gave the order that no more attempts were to be made to recover the remaining guns, however none of these were to fall into Boer hands. The Gunners paid a heavy price for what was, in the long run, a successful operation. It is true, they had to be rescued - another catch cry that is often thrown at the Gunners, but so too did D company 6 RAR in their gallant battle at Long Tan, there is nothing to be ashamed of in being saved.