Last modified: 2013-01-11 by bruce berry
Keywords: saint helena | atlantic ocean | ascension |
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Ascension Island is a small speck of land in the middle of the South
Atlantic Ocean and has been a British possession since the Napoleonic
Wars and immediately afterwards, when it was a support base for
preventing any rescue attempts to liberate Napoleon from St. Helena.
It has functioned as a dependency of that island for much of its
history, but has never had a permanent resident population as has
that island. Most of its inhabitants have over the years been
initially British and latterly American military and technical
personnel. Ascension played a major role as a tracking station in the US
space program as well as serving as a staging area for the British relief
expedition to the Falkland Islands.
Ron Lahav, 09 Mar 2005
Ascension Island is a dependency of St. Helena. So the correct flags are
the Union Flag and the St. Helena flag. If they follow the tradition of the
other St. Helena dependency, Tristan da Cunha, they will put both flags on
the same pole, with the Union Flag uppermost (much like some Americans do
with the Stars & Stripes and State flag).
Graham Bartram, 07 Feb 1998
In Album des pavillons nationaux et
des marques distinctives (National flags and distinctive markings) 2000
[pay00] it is noted on the Saint Helena page
that "Ascension Island flies the British flag undefaced".
Željko Heimer, 20 Jan 2001
H Gresham Carr (1961) [car61] notes that
"Ascension became a dependency of St. Helena in 1922. Previously, this
island was administered by the Board of Admiralty and flew the (British) White
Jarig Bakker, 04 Sept 2001
I have been informed about the meeting of the Ascension Island Council on 30
July 30, 2010 where:
"Two draft designs for an Ascension Island flag have been circulated and discussed in Council and these will shortly appear on notice boards to invite comments from members of the public. When a design is approved it can then be submitted to the College of Heraldry in the United Kingdom and hopefully we will have our own flag, like the other Overseas Territories, instead of flying the Union flag."
Chrystian Kretowicz, 19 Aug 2010
The Islander newspaper reported the following (02 September 2010):
“Ascension Island is unusual among Britain’s Overseas Territories in not having its own flag. Just looking at the territories within the South Atlantic, our sister islands St Helena and Tristan each have their own unique flags, as does the Falkland Islands, Turks and Caicos etc. Even the unpopulated South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands has its own. Meanwhile Ascension still flies the Union flag by default, which may confuse many of our visitors into thinking they are actually in England!
So what do we need to do to be able to fly our own flag? The first step is to agree an outline design locally and then seek the Governor’s approval. An application can then be made to the College of Arms in the UK, which will determine whether the design meets approved heraldic guidelines before applying to HM the Queen for a Royal Warrant.
Efforts have been made in the past to agree locally what design to put forward, but differences as to what the flag should look like held up progress. More recently some design concepts have been discussed from time to time with the Island Council, resulting in the two designs shown below. The Council has agreed that it is now time to invite comments from the public, as to determine which is considered the most suitable for the island.
Image submitted by Bruce Berry, 10 Sept 2010
Flag Design A is inspired by the natural features and wildlife of Ascension. The green represents Green Mountain and the brown for the many cinder cones around the island, a yellow band to depict the island’s beaches, and a sea bird, land crab and turtle, all symbolic of Ascension Island. This design, without “supporters” etc, follows the St Helena example.
Image submitted by Bruce Berry, 10 Sept 2010
Flag Design B depicts a geometric Green Mountain, together with a Fairey Swordfish, the first aircraft to land on the newly constructed airstrip in 1942. Together with the triangular shape of the mountain this also forms the letter ‘A’ for Ascension. This design also features a turtle and bird as “supporters” – following the flag format of some territories such as Tristan.
are still quite rough designs and whichever design is chosen will need to be
improved upon by the College of Arms before it is formally approved as the flag.
Comments and suggestions on these designs can be sent to
Submitted by Colin Dobson, Chrystian Kretowicz and Bruce Berry
Image by Olivier Touzeau, 31 March 2012
The Islander newspaper published on 02
an "example of the Ascension Island Coat of Arms, which the Island Council
recommended to the Governor for approval".
Here is my drawing of this proposal.
Olivier Touzeau, 31 March 2012
Why is it that the English flag St George flag is shown being
flown from the stern? St Helena made the same mistake on two of its flags.
Why (and I suspect that the College of Arms may be at fault here) is there still
"English" bias when it comes to British 'possessions'?
Martin Grieve, 31 March 2012
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, has approved a new coat of
arms for Ascension Island, after a design was drawn up by the College of Arms in
London and submitted to Buckingham Palace. Islanders were asked what they
would like to see on the coat of arms, and then the college produced a design
based on the features suggested –
including the turtles that famously lay their eggs on Ascension’s beaches. The Island Council will now consider designs for a flag. In January it was proposed that it should be a blue ensign with the coat of arms on the right-hand side. The Island’s Administrator, Colin Wells, says Ascension is the only British overseas territory not to have its own flag. The UK’s Union Flag is used instead.
Ascension also decided in 2009 to begin issuing its own commemorative coins for special occasions, as a source of income and a means of raising the island’s profile around the world.
Jens Pattke, 17 Oct 2012
At the official Diamond Jubilee
celebration for HM Queen Elizabeth II, the new flag of Ascension Island will be
displayed for the first time according the Thames Pageant Guide provided by the
Jens Pattke, 02 June 2012
I guess the design is a compromise, but
the end result is hideous! I don't suppose Graham Bartram had much to say about
it and the Ascension Islanders (or some other authority) insisted on having the
entire coat of arms in the fly. A much better design would have been have
had the shield only... or even the three birds and nothing else.
A green chevron over barry wavy is not a particularly successful design.
Željko Heimer, 02 June 2012
I share the same opinion with Željko. Compared to the
former draft of spring 2012, the compartment has been changed. There is no band
under the compartment. The roots of the Scottish settlers were not taken
into design and the ship flies the English ensign of St George only.
Jens Pattke, 03 June 2012
I spoke to Graham Bartram about the
status of the Ascension Island flag. The design has been approved by the
Governor and has now been sent to the College of Arms for a final drawing to be
prepared for the Royal Warrant, after which it will become official. I believe
the final design will be slightly different from that displayed at the Thames
Pageant (motto and mantling etc has been added).
Bruce Berry, 07 June 2012
Mr. László Balogh (who collects flags and manages the Flag Museum
in Budapest) received a letter from Administrator of Ascension Island,
dependency of St. Helena. Administrator sent him a brochure or leaflet
displaying a shield or badge of "Ascension Island", which also appears on Blue Ensign. Mr.
Balogh gave me a copy of part of this publication, so I scanned this badge. [Vert behind an open book crossed palewise a sledge hammer an anchor in bend and a pick-axe in bend sinister all Argent and in the chief of the last a dragon passant Gules].
However, the home page of Administrator of Ascension Island on http://www.ascension-island.gov.ac shows a picture of Administrator's Office, and only the British Union Jack flying on a flagpole planted in front of the building.
Zoltan Horvath, 03 Sept 2001
The arms shown are those of the University of Wales in Swansea (hence the Red Dragon and green and white field). I think the University has a wildlife project on the Island. If you look at http://www.ascension-island.gov.ac/postoffice/ascturtles_mar99.jpg you will see a set of stamps from the island along with the arms and name of the University.
So the blue ensign with this badge is bogus! I know Ascension Island wants a flag, but they won't be allowed to use someone else's Arms. They will need to get a grant of arms from the College of Arms before they can ask for those arms to be used on a defaced ensign. Nowadays territories' flags no longer use non-armorial "badges".
Graham Bartram, 05 Sept 2001