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British Empire and Commonwealth Games

Last modified: 2021-08-26 by zachary harden
Keywords: british empire | commonwealth of nations | commonwealth games | international organization |
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British Empire and Commonwealth Games Flag
image by Dean Thomas,18 May 2002

See also:

Origin of the flag

The British Empire and Commonwealth Games Association of Canada donated the flag after the name change was voted on in 1952, and it was used for the first time at the Vth BE&CG in Vancouver (Canada) in 1954.
(Source: Commonwealth Games Council of England )
Dean Thomas,
21 May 2002

At is the flag of British Empire and Commonwealth Games. Accompanying text:
"Cardiff 1958
The British Empire & Commonwealth Games Flag seen above was first used in 1958 for the Cardiff Games. In Edinburgh 1970 the flag was stolen from a flagpole by a student working for John Menzies who forty years later returned it to Commonwealth Games Scotland and was used in our exhibition."

I'm not sure whether it's John Menzies or the student, who was used in the exhibit. However, the page shows both a photograph of what presumable is the original hoisting as well as the flag at an exhibit.
We have it that the flag was first used in Vancouver 1954. Is there a way to conciliate these dates? Could there be different specimen involved? I have to leave this up to the crown experts, but the crown on the Cardiff flag doesn't look like the one in our image. (Also, the "and" glyph is different.)
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 15 February 2015


The British Empire and Commonwealth Games are a continuance of the British Empire Games. The name change came about to reflect the evolving nature of the old Empire into one where former colonies became emerging and independent nations.  The name was retained until the Kingston Commonwealth Games (1966), where the Federation met and voted to drop the word "Empire". This meant the Kingston's Games became the VIII British Commonwealth Games, even though the Games Emblems and medals still retained the old "BE&CG" lettering.

The Games held during this period were: Vancouver (1954), Cardiff (1958), Perth (1962), Kingston (1966)
Dean Thomas
, 21 May 2002

The Games Seal

BE&CG Seal

The Seal was voted upon at the same meeting of the Games Federation that voted upon the name change from British Empire Games to British Commonwealth Games. The pentagonal chain represented the five continents of the world where the nations of the Commonwealth are located, linked in friendship and a common purpose. The Imperial (or Tudor) Crown represented the British Monarch. It is noteworthy that after George VI died in 1952 and Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in 1952, the Tudor crown was retained in the seal, even though Elizabeth II used the St. Edwards Crown.
Dean Thomas
, 21 May 2002

Confusion over the BE&CG Ceremonial Flag

There had been some sources that had quoted to me that the Ceremonial Flag of the British Empire and Commonwealth Games was simply a blue flag with the new seal placed in the center.
While this description was indeed the format for the Ceremonial Flags of the British Commonwealth Games and (the first variant of ) the Commonwealth Games, a recent picture that came into my possession showed that the ceremonial flag was white with the seal within a blue disc (top of page), which made the initial description inaccurate. This inaccuracy appeared throughout my webpage on the Flags and Emblems of the Commonwealth Games. I apologize to anyone who was mislead by this.