Last modified: 2011-07-01 by rob raeside
Keywords: proposal | high commissioner | union flag | disc (white): badge | jerusalem | red ensign | canton: union flag |
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The city-on-hill-top badge was drawn or described in newspapers, magazines and books, but never used on a flag.
In 1932 the Palestine High Commissioner applied to the Colonial Office for a distinguishing flag. He made some journeys by launch, but had no defaced Union Flag of the type normally used to identify a vessel in which a commissioner was travelling. He did not consider that the badge used on the ensigns was suitable, and suggested a badge similar to those of the High Commissioners of the Western Pacific and South Africa. These badges had an imperial crown and appropriate initials, on a white disc surrounded by a garland of green leaves.
The Colonial Office agreed that the badge on the ensigns was, "repellent", and were considering the adoption of a badge that had a crown in the centre with 'PALESTINE' above and 'H.C.' below, when it was decided that the Foreign Office would probably not agree to a badge which featured a crown. The status of the administration of a mandated territory was not entirely clear, and some were of the opinion that in Palestine the Colonial Office were agents of the League of Nations, and that the use of a royal crown was not appropriate. It was proposed instead that a simplified version of the design that had been used for the Public Seal, should be used as a flag badge. This had been introduced when the Mandate was established, and it was though that it would indicate the authority of the High Commissioner without implying the status of Palestine. The circular Seal had been commissioned by the Royal Mint and designed by Cecil Thomas. It showed a walled city on a hill-top with a circular border in which 'Government of Palestine' was written in English, Hebrew and Arabic.
A badge based on the seal was designed by George Kruger-Gray, an heraldic artist, and approved by the High Commissioner in February 1933. The Seal had been simplified by removing the encircling wall in the foreground, and made less contentious, it was thought, by having a crescent at the top of the dome replaced by a pinnacle. The border containing the inscriptions was to be replaced by a yellow garland when used on the Union Jack, and by a plain yellow border on the ensigns. An alternative badge based on the Arms of the Latin Kings of Jerusalem had been rejected because it consisted mainly of Christian symbols of the Cross.
Kruger-Gray sent a drawing of the badge to a friend who was an editor of The Times newspaper. The editor asked if it had been gazetted (scheduled for publication in the government newspaper). Kruger-Gray replied that he did not know, but that the badge had been approved. The editor took this to mean that he was free to publish a picture of the badge, which appeared in The Times on 29th August 1933. It was reproduced in Baxter 1934 and described in an article in National Geographic 1934 and in W.J. Gordon's 1933 Manual of Flags.
However the Royal Mint, Colonial Office and the High Commissioner were still not satisfied with some aspects of the badge. It was thought that the only identifiable features were Moslem in character and would excite political criticism on the part of the Jewish Community. Changes made in April 1934 included altering the colour of the buildings of the city from white to yellow and the garland from yellow to green. The Royal Mint Advisory Committee opposed the alterations on aesthetic grounds, but the High Commissioner thought that the badge was now very similar to the Seal, to which no objections had been made in the ten years it had been in use. When the badge was seen by the Jewish Agency, they objected strongly and said that there had been no objections to the seal only because they had not been aware of its existence.
The badge based on the Seal was abandoned and on 17th July
1935 the High Commissioner selected a
badge, similar to that of the Western
Pacific High Commissioner, that had been considered in 1932.
David Prothero, 18 August 2000 and 4 March 2002
The hill-top city is an artistic way to represent the old part
of Jerusalem. One can see the walls,
the Jaffa Gate, the Omar Mosque (the Dome of the Rock) and the
Tower of David.
Dov Gutterman, 13 March 2001 and 19 February 2002
A drawing of the seal is in a document, MINT 24/101, at the
National Archives (PRO) Kew, West London. It was designed by
Cecil Thomas and approved by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee on
12 April 1923, subject to the omission of a crescent on one
building, and also of some windows, "to give a more
characteristic eastern look."
The proposed and abandoned flag badge was based on the seal and gives an idea of the seal's appearance.
It is not possible to have a coloured picture of a seal of this sort as it would be either an impression in paper, or a photograph of the metal die.
David Prothero, 27 June 2003
The Public Seal of Palestine had a bearing on some flag
proposals, but no actual flags.
The administration of British Mandated Territories followed as far as possible the system used in British colonies, and this probably influenced the design and shape of the Public Seal of Palestine. Each colony's Seal was different, but followed a standardized pattern; being round, having the royal arms in the upper half, a pictorial scene relating to the colony in the lower half, and a circumscription. The Royal Mint invited selected firms of commercial artists to submit a design for the Public Seal of Palestine. Obviously the royal arms were omitted as being inappropriate, and it was probably specified, or suggested, that the whole Seal should consist of the pictorial scene which might have appeared on the lower half of the Seal, had Palestine been a colony. A distinctive view of some part of Jerusalem was an obvious choice for this.
David Prothero, 17 January 2009
Please note that this image is only a hypothetical reconstruction of what a Palestine High Commissioner's ensign featuring the proposed 1933 badge proposal would have looked like. This flag never existed.
image by eljko Heimer
Please note that this image is only a hypothetical reconstruction of what a Palestine civil ensign featuring the proposed 1933 badge proposal would have looked like. This flag never existed.
image by eljko Heimer