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Falkland Islands (1937-1948)

Last modified: 2005-07-16 by rob raeside
Keywords: falkland islands | sheep | bullock | sealion | falklands island company |
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[Falkland Islands] by Martin Grieve

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Introduction of the 1937-1948 badge and flag

The opportunity to replace the bull and ship as the distinctive device on the Public Seal of the Falkland Islands was taken when the circumscription on the Seal was changed after the accession of King Edward VII. The Governor, Sir W. Grey-Wilson, wrote that, "at the time the existing seal was designed wild cattle were the dominating feature of the colony. They have now almost entirely disappeared and have been replaced by sheep. I am, however, disposed to regard seals, penguins and wild geese as the most characteristic fauna of the Colony." In about 1902 the Royal Mint produced a Seal featuring a penguin, a seal, and two upland geese, which was approved by the Governor, and became the badge on the Blue Ensign and Governor's flag.

In November 1905 the Colonial Office suggested to the Governor, now Sir William L. Allardyce, that the colony should apply for Arms. He replied that he did he did not care to apply for Arms at that time, but would like to change the flag badge. "The majority of the colonists seem to prefer the old badge to the new one, and I think it a pity to have done away with the old design which was so intimately associated with the early days of the colony." In March 1906 the Colonial Office pointed out that the change in the device on Public Seal had not been noted in the Colonial Office, and that the flag badge was not authorized, as it should not have been changed without His Majesty's approval.

In April 1906 the Governor reported that the Executive Council were, "Unanimously of the opinion that the old badge should be retrieved without alteration." The use of the old badge on the flags was resumed, and the device on the Seal discontinued in 1910 at the beginning of the reign of King George V.

In February 1924 the Governor, through the Colonial Office, asked the College of Arms to prepare arms for the Falkland Islands. They were granted by Royal Warrant on 16th October 1925. Theoretically this should then have become the badge on the flags, but it did not appear in the Admiralty Flag Book until 1937. The arms were not liked. In a letter to the Sheep Owner's Association dated 16th June 1947, the Governor referred to, "the coat of arms granted to the Colony in 1925, which reproduce badly and have no artistic merit." Later in the year he told the Colonial Office that "I have under consideration the need for substituting for the present coat of arms one of greater simplicity, which will reproduce better and will not, as do the present arms, furnish occasion for critical levity." New arms were granted 29 September 1948.

David Prothero, 3 May 2005

1925 Badge

[Falklands 1925 badge] by David Prothero and António Martins

Arms granted 16th October 1925.  "Per bend Azure and Or, sinister a representation of the ship "Desire" dimidiated and issuant Argent Flag and Pennon charged with a Cross Gules and dexter a Sea Lion proper, with the Motto "Desire the Right"." ... "to be borne for the said Colony of the Falkland Islands upon Seals Shields Banners or otherwise according to the Laws of Arms."
António Martins, 14 January 2000

It should have been used as a badge, surrounded by the usual garland, on the Union Flag of the Governor, and on the fly of the Blue Ensign, with no white disc.  These details appeared in Amendment 5 (1937) to the 1930 edition of the Admiralty Flag Book.  In practice it is likely that the earlier circular badge approved in 1876 continued to be used on both flags until replaced by the current badge in 1948.
David Prothero, 14 January 2000

The sea-lion/sailing ship arms were replaced by the current arms (sheep above a sailing ship) 29 September 1948 (from Colonial Office "Flags, Badges and Arms"). David Prothero, 25 March 2000

Governor's flag

[Falkland Islands] by Martin Grieve