The Motto "FIRM"

The origin of the motto is unknown; but as it was the family motto of Field Marshal Lord Stair, it is possible that he gave it to the 36th Regiment for special services. In 1747 the Regiment fought a very gallant rearguard action against the French at Lauffeld in Flanders, and this may have led Lord Stair to grant them the motto. It was used by the 36th in 1773, if not earlier, and their right to it was confirmed in 1807. Only three other Regiments have an English motto. They are :-The Royal Scots Greys-"Second to None"; The Duke of Cornwall's light Infantry-"One and All"; The Royal Tank Regiment -"Fear Naught." In the Regimental badge and in the centre of the Regimental Colours the motto FIRM of the old 36th (Herefordshire) Regiment was combined with the Royal Lion of the old 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment to form one device, symbolising the union of those two Regiments in The Worcestershire Regiment.


Field Marshal Lord Stair
(John Dalrymple 2nd Earl of Stair)

In 1817 new colours were due to be presnted to the 36th Regiment but without the motto "Firm." After some correspondence the Inspector of Regimental Colours was persuaded that "Firm" should be on the colours and ordered the motto to be added. In evidence presented by Lieut.-Colonel Burne, he certified that "FIRM" had been borne on the Regimental seal as early as 1773. The new colours were presented in the garrison church at Portsmouth. The old colours were eventually laid up in Chelsea Hospital. In 1947, by command of His Majesty the King, they were returned to a regimental colour party at a ceremonial parade and their remnants are now held by the Worcestershire Regiment Museum.

The date at which the motto "FIRM" appeared on Regimental badges is not clear, but it most likely first appeared to be used around 1816. There is evidence of an officers shoulder-belt plate bearing the motto "FIRM" in 1825.


36th Regiment Officers'
Shoulder Belt Plate (1816-1825)


There are great men who revel in parks and in fields,
And in lordly domains spreading wide;
There are nobles who boast of their rich blazon'd shields
That witness their ancestors' pride.
Yet we envy them not, for the fields of our fame
From the East to the West spread afar;
And the motto we bear, and the badge that we claim,
Have been won in the red field of war.

Chorus—True hearted friends we'll all remain;
And when war calls to arms again,
From our dauntless front the foe shall flee,
For our motto is "Firm," and firm we'll be.

Should they ask us perchance in what age of the world
We have conquered, or question us where,
We'll hang our green banners before them unfurled,
They may read the proud names that they bear.
From the East have our forefathers' glories been earned,
And the West could fresh laurels supply,
When rallying in might at Corunna we turned,
And we forced the pursuer to fly.

From the leaguered wall fiercely, when loud cannon pealed,
Even first on the breach were they found.
Back to back they stood fixed, nor bethought them to yield,
When the foe, front and rear, gathered round.
His ill-gotten goods of Hispania's spoil,
We forced the proud Frenchman to leave.
In confusion at Orthes we made him recoil,
And lie fled from our bayonets at Nive.

While the foeman abroad rests from war in our days,
And our land twines in myrtles her sword;
If rebellion his voice in her cities should raise,
And gather a traitorous horde;
Tho' the hearts of some fail them, and others forget.
Their allegiance, and we stand alone,
Undaunted we'll rally and baffle them yet,
And will strike for the Queen and the Throne,

Of the warriors who gained us such deathless renown,
In the Fields of the East and the West,
Tho' seine in their age have their armours laid down,
And others be laid to their rest,
May their spirit for ever fresh influence lend,
Nor cease, save with life's fleeting term,
In the fight 'gainst the foe, and in faith to a friend,
Let Our motto be "Firm," ever "Firm."

Composed by W. HALE, ESQ., at Corfu, Christmas, 1848.