Flag of Guernsey

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Flag of Guernsey.svg
Use Civil and state flag
Proportion 2:3[1]
Adopted April 30, 1985
Design Cross

The flag of Guernsey was adopted in 1985 and consists of the red Cross of St. George with an additional gold Norman cross within it. The creation was prompted by confusion at international sporting events over competitors from Guernsey and England using the same flag.[2] It was designed by the Guernsey Flag Investigation Committee, chaired by the then Deputy Bailiff Graham Dorey and first flew in the island on 15 February 1985. The gold cross represents Duke William the Bastard of Normandy (later King William the Conqueror of England), who, it is claimed, had such a cross on his flag in the Battle of Hastings, given to him by Pope Alexander II.[3] Since 2000, a red ensign with the cross in the fly is used as civil ensign and a blue ensign is used as the government ensign.


Prior to 1985, Guernsey had no official unique flag and instead used the St George's Cross, the Flag of England as its flag when one was officially required. This came about after King Edward VIII granted consent for Guernsey to use the flag of England in 1936 and during the Nazi Occupation of the Channel Islands preventing residents flying official British symbols, the flag of England was permitted by the Nazi occupiers for civilian use.[4] The Government of Guernsey carried out official studies in 1906 and 1935 to determine any unique and identifiable historical flags that Guernsey could use to represent it.[5] In 1983, the Bailiff of Guernsey argued about the need for a new flag for Guernsey because of the confusion cased by using the flag of England.[6] The reason why the flag of Guernsey was created in 1985 was because during the Commonwealth Games, Guernsey was competing under the flag of England. This led to confusion from other nation's competitors who believed that it meant that England were entering two teams into the Games.[7]

Research was carried out by Deputy Bailiff Sir Graham Dorey on Guernsey's Guernsey Flag Investigation Committee. The committee considered a number of designs. It was initially considered that the new flag of Guernsey should contain green but it was ruled that the colour green has no historical basis in Guernsey aside of being used as a sporting colour by the Guernsey national football team in Muratti matches. Consideration was given to using the coat of arms of Guernsey on a St George's Cross but this was rejected on the grounds that the arms would be unidentifiable at a distance. It was also decided that that would be primarily focussing on English symbols and not recognising Guernsey's independence or Norman history.[6] The committee eventually settled with including a gold cross on top of the St George's Cross. The gold cross was chosen as it was a symbol of King William the Conqueror as seen as a banner at the Battle of Hastings on the Bayeux Tapestry,[5] which was purportedly given to him by Pope Alexander II as a symbol of his blessing for the Norman Conquest of England along with a request for the clergy of the Church of England to give way to William.[3] The flag's design was to symbolise that the islanders were of Norman descent but loyal to the English (and later British) Crown. In 1985 Queen Elizabeth II, Duke of Normandy granted a Royal Warrant for the flag to become the official flag of Guernsey. The flag was first raised on Liberation Day of 9 May 1985 on the 40th anniversary of the Channel Islands' liberation from Nazi occupation during the Second World War.[7]

Following its adoption, the flag of Guernsey was used in the Grosse Rocque ceremony, replacing the Union Jack which had traditionally been raised on Grosse Rocque every August bank holiday.[8] The flag would then fly for a year before being replaced with a new one.[9] The flag of Guernsey is flown from all of the States of Guernsey buildings except for designated Flag Flying Days where the Union Jack is used instead. These days mostly relate to birthdays and anniversaries of senior members of the Royal Family as well as Commonwealth Day and Remembrance Sunday.[10] The flag later provided inspiration for other Channel Island's flags including the flag of Alderney and the flag of Sark.[6]

The flag of Guernsey has been used as an inspiration for other symbols. In 2011, the Guernsey Ambulance and Rescue Service adopted a new logo comprising the Cross of St George and gold Norman cross, but incorporating the Maltese Cross of the Venerable Order of Saint John based on the Guernsey flag.[11] In November 2012 the Bailiwick of Guernsey's St John Ambulance was elevated to a Commandery within the Order dependent on the Priory of England and the Islands in a church service which included granting a new flag from the British College of Arms including elements of the flag of Guernsey.[12]

The flag is not universally supported by some Guernsey sports fans who feel it does not represent Guernsey's sporting colour of green or the crest of Guernsey. In the 2000s, a green and white tricolour with the coat of arms of Guernsey in the centre was created to be used as Guernsey's unofficial sporting flag.[13]

Guernsey ensign[edit]

At the same time as the flag of Guernsey was adopted, the Royal Warrant also provided for creation of a Guernsey civil ensign. This was created as a British red ensign incorporating the Guernsey gold cross. That was created for Guernsey residents and British subjects as an alternative flag of Guernsey as well as to be used as Guernsey's merchant ensign.[14] In 2000, the States of Guernsey adopted a blue ensign version of the Guernsey ensign for maritime usage on government vessels.[6]

Gallery of historical flags[edit]

The previous flag of Guernsey was the St George's Cross. Guernsey was permitted to use it in 1936 for its state flag. However, there is evidence to suggest the existence of a previous Guernsey flag, used in the mid-19th century. This was a St George's cross on a blue-and-white chequered field, with the Union Flag in canton. Further details of its use and official status remain doubtful, however.[15]


  1. ^ Guernsey; Flags of the World; (c.1996 - Present)
  2. ^ Le Conte, David, Designing the Flag, Review of the Guernsey Society, Spring 1996, Vol LII No 1
  3. ^ a b Nicolls, Bruce, A New Flag for Guernsey, Review of the Guernsey Society, Winter 1985, Vol XLI No 3
  4. ^ Smith, Whitney. "flag of Guernsey". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  5. ^ a b "The Guernsey Flag". BBC. 2004-07-22. Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  6. ^ a b c d Tuesday, September 27, 2016. "Guernsey Flag". Guernsey Press. Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  7. ^ a b "25 years under the Guernsey flag". BBC News. 2010-04-15. Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  8. ^ "Saviour found for Guernsey flag ceremony". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  9. ^ "Raising the flag for Liberation at Cobo". BBC News. 2010-05-13. Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  10. ^ "Flag Flying Days in Guernsey". Guernsey Royal Court. 1947-02-25. Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  11. ^ "Guernsey Ambulance and Rescue celebrates 75 years". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  12. ^ "Guernsey St John Ambulance goes independent". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  13. ^ "Green-white-green Tricolour on Guernsey". Crwflags.com. Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  14. ^ "Flags and Arms". Guernsey Royal Court. 1985-05-09. Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  15. ^ "Bailiwick of Guernsey, Channel Islands". 14 March 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2016. 

External links[edit]