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Weihaiwei Territory

Last modified: 2020-07-11 by ian macdonald
Keywords: china | weihaiwei |
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[Weihaiwei colonial flag]
by Blas Delgado Ortiz, 14 September 2000
See also:

Commissioner of Weihaiwei

1903 to 1930

[Copmmisioner flag of Weihaiwei]
by Martin Grieve

According to Webster's New Geographical Dictionary (1988) Weihai or Weihaiwei is a seaport in Shantung province, northeast China at the eastern end of peninsula on the north coast, 40 miles east of Chefoo and on southern shore of the Strait of Pohai; a naval base, ship-repairing center, fishing port; good harbor protected by Liu-Kung Island. History: Chinese fleet destroyed here by Japanese 1895 and port occupied by Japanese 1895-98; leased to Great Britain 1898 and used as a naval base; returned to China 1930; occupied by Japanese 1938-1945; occupied by Communist naval forces 1949.
Jarig Bakker, 30 December 1999


Colonial badge

[British badge for Weihaiwei]
by Martin Grieve, 18 April 2005

This badge is also mentioned in those HMSO books I have right now, although there's a footnote saying that the badge is "obsolete since 30th September, 1930."
Dipesh Navsaria, 16 February 1996


The ducks depicted are Mandarin ducks (Aix galericulata) with the male in the foreground and the female partly obscured. These ducks were endemic to China but their population was severely threatened. They were imported to the UK and through a combination of escapes and releases, there is a thriving population in southern England.

The species has been 'rediscovered' at some unknown sites in China and the wild population is no longer thought to be endangered. It is slightly ironic that Britain borrowed a Chinese port and then a Chinese duck was given loan of the New Forest area.
Ian Peters, 10 August 2003


Putative flags at the Anti-Japanese Fascist Museum

putative Weihaiwei flag
image contributed by Keir Laird, 22 March 2009

I came across the Weihaiwei colonial flag at a museum in Weihaiwei: (see here and here It looks pretty authentic but then I was at the 'Anti-Japanese Fascist et cet. Museum' at the Marco Polo Bridge and dozens of flags were made of various countries as they looked back in the 1930s.
Keir Laird, 22 March 2009


I don't think that this flag can be authentic. Surely the real flag would not have had those white lines sewn in across the St. George in the Union.
Peter Johnson, 23 March 2009


Only the flag of Weihaiwei is included in the web-site provided by Keir, so we are not in a position to comment on whether the Liu Kung Tau flag at the museum is a defaced Union Jack or an ensign.
It seems the main point of contention is the ill-formed Union Jack in the photos. It is unclear if there are two Weihaiwei flags or one flag with two photos. Without a close-up image or an actual viewing of the flags we are not in a position to form a view on the apparent age of the flags. The apparent condition of the flag(s) suggests that it(they) may be re-constructions, though the actual badge of Weihaiwei does appear to be an original hand painting. If they are reconstructions, then the question becomes one of did the reconstruction copy an ill-formed original, or was it a poorly made modern flag? I suspect that it copied the original, and that there are enough examples of distorted Union Jacks for the original to have been made as poorly as the flag appears today.
I have a copy of the actual badge as inserted into the Admiralty flag book and it is similar to that drawn by Jaume Ollé (above). The badge shown on the Union Jack as drawn by Martin Grieve is incorrect - it is merely the Chinese imperial dragon treated as a governor's badge. I am inclined to agree with David that a blue ensign with the Liu Kung Tau was unlikely to have existed, particularly given the despatch from the Colonial Office dated 1 December 1902 (which is shown on the same page in respect of Weihaiwei) states "The design of the flag hitherto used by the Commissioner of this Dependency is a dragon on the Union Jack and is in my opinion quite unsuitable."
The only remaining uncertainty is whether a Commissioner would have been entitled to the same garland as a Governor at the time.
Ralph Kelly, 23 March 2009


Commissioners were entitled to a garland as the Order in Council of 7 August 1869 that introduced flags for governors covered, "Governors of all ranks and denominations administering the Governments of British Colonies and Dependencies." When the official was only an administrator the badge was on a Blue Ensign.
The only Union Jacks with a badge on a white disc with no garland were; Principal Representative, British North Borneo Company; Principal Representative, afloat, Imperial British East African Company; Flag of the British South Africa Company; Governor, Southern Rhodesia; and Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia.
David Prothero, 24 March 2009


Weihai Flag from Municipal Archives

[WeiHaiWei]
image located by MA Xiang-hong, 02 July 2012

I came across your website and want to mention that the flag in the image contributed by Keir Laird in 2009 is a poorly-made replica. The original one has a right-formed Union Jack, which is kept in Weihai Municipal Archives. Here attach the photo for your good website.
The original flag was presented to us by Mr. Duncan Clark in 2004 whose grandfather came to Weihaiwei in 1898 and developed business here during the lease period.
MA Xiang-hong, Weihai Municipal Archives, China, 19 May 2010

I probably emailed you two years ago about the Weihaiwei territory flag with a badge of Mandarin Ducks on the Union Jack. Here I let you know that Weihai Archives keeps a Weihaiwei flag from the British lease period. There is a photo of it. The flag in the image contributed by Keir Laird in 2009 was a wrongly-made replica. If he visited the island Museum again, he would find a right flag replica now.
Here I have one question. Why was it a Union Jack flying above the Government House instead of a Union Jack with the Mandarin Ducks? After all, the latter was the territory flag. Here attach the photo of the flag over the Government House.
Xianghong Ma, 02 July 2012

A Union Jack with a territorial badge in the centre was introduced in 1869 as the flag to be flown at the masthead of a vessel in which the governor of the territory was embarked. The Blue Ensign with a territorial badge was the ensign of a vessel operated by the government of that territory. The land flag of any British territory was a plain Union Jack. Later in the century, when colonies gained internal self-government, it became usual for them to adopt the relevant Blue Ensign, or sometimes Red Ensign, as the flag to be used on land. The Union Jack with badge continued to be a flag that was used only at sea until 1941, when the regulations were changed so that the Union Jack with badge could be flown by a governor when on land.
David Prothero, 02 July 2012