Monday, 22 April 2013

Boys Brigade Colours

I started this post after attending the celebration of 125 years of Boys Brigade missionary in Ireland, hosted by the Londonderry Battalion.

The Boys Brigade (BB) is a World Wide Christian youth organisation, and as a former member with a very long association with. (every generation of my family have served in the BB since the first company was formed in Derry.) In the British Isles it is mostly only Protestant Churches that have BB companies, however it is an interdenominational organisation and members from many different churches can be found in a single company (which are normally affiliated to a single church), The Object of The Boys' Brigade is:"The advancement of Christ's kingdom among Boys and the promotion of habits of Obedience, Reverence, Discipline, Self-respect and all that tends towards a true Christian manliness."

It is a uniformed organisation which (with the exception of the cadet movement) makes it the oldest uniformed youth organisation in the UK even older than the scouts. 
The badge is an anchor emblazoned on a cross with the motto "Sure & Steadfast" on it, flanked by the letters "BB". the anchor and motto comes from the Bible. The book of Hebrews, Chapter 6, Verse 19: We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast . 

Unlike the scouts it does not have its own universal flag, but each company and battalion have their own colours, which normally conform to a standard pattern. In the UK and commonwealth realms the BB's patron is the reigning monarch which makes it one of the very few civilian organisations to have a Queen's Colour.

much like the military the Queen's Colour is a Union Flag defaced with the badge:
Standard design of Queen's Colour
A picture of myself as a teenager with the Queen's Colour of my company. 
(I apoligise for the serious looking face :L)

In the United Kingdom the Company (and battalion colour) often take the form of a blue ensign, with the brigade badge and the name of the company:
Standard design for Company colour
Old colour and other memorabilia on display in my church.

the exception to this is Scotland where the Company colour takes the form of a Saint Andrews cross (the BB was founded in Scotland.)
St Andrews Colour
This is also the case although to a much lesser extent in Northern Ireland. Normally the ensign is used but there are a handful of companies who use the St Andrews cross. As is seen in the photo below of a company of the Londonderry battalion on Sundays parade.

My company also broke the mould, by replacing the ensign with a plain blue colour in a bid to be more cross community, I think this makes sense not only in a bid to encourage boys from the Roman Catholic community to join, but as the Queen's Colour is a Union Flag, I don't see a need to have one in the canton of the company colour:
Above and Below on the left side of the picture:

The problem is that there is no reference to the company which sort of defeats the purpose of a company colour. So I did a quick proposal of a new type of standard colour, based on my old company:
It has the company number in Roman numerals in the canton. The BB badge, name, company name and the church it is affiliated to which present colours don't have. the ensign with the UK flag in the canton is only really used in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (Scotland as already mention use the St Andrews cross for a company colour.) BB units outside the UK naturally don't have it, and with the exception of commonwealth realms they also don't have a Queen's Colour, as can be seen in the colours of a company in the Republic of Ireland in the picture below:
The company colour of this particular company is more elaborate than most. It is also of interest that the BB in the Irish Republic and the UK are both governed from the British isles headquarters in London which is why they both wear the same uniform, the only difference being the colours and the highest award. In the UK the highest award in the BB is called the Queen's Badge after the patron, but in the Republic of Ireland the highest award is called the Founders Badge in reference to the BB's founder.

For more info on the BB see the links:

All comments are Welcome. If you have pictures of BB colours or flags in other countries I would like to see them :)

Saturday, 20 April 2013

European Parliament Coat of Arms.

After watching the daily Politics Program on the BCC on which they done a section on EU politics, I thought that the European Parliament apart from the EU flag has no official badge or coat of arms or any other emblem. I find this surprising giving the size and influence of the European Union. So I had a go today at designing my own.
Wanting to use something more original than a shield with an EU flag, I thought about making one which incorporates the arms of all the member states. Yes All 27 of them! This was no easy task, not just because of the huge scale, but it is was made more difficult by the fact that some of these nations don't even have a coat of arms! Although most do have some form of heraldic badge that I was able to use. Anyway here is the result:

the crest features a mural cornet or crown as is normal when representing a community or settlement. It has a globe and a dove representing peace.
I would like to use animals for the supporters but as one animal would mean more to one country than another (eg a lion would represent Britain, and eagle Germany etc) I decided to keep it neutral. The supporters are in the form of  two EU flags and a laurel wreath, with the Nobel Peace Prize (which was of course awarded to the European Union). The peace symbolism reflecting the fact that the EU was originally founded after WW2 with the aim of preventing another European conflict that could effect the world.
The motto is Latin and translates as "Unity through Diversity."
For those of you that are interested in the arms on the shield, they are from the top and moving left to right:
Slovenia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Austria, The Czech Republic, Germany, The Netherlands, Estonia, Greece, Spain, The United Kingdom, Croatia, Finland, France, Hungary, Malta, Romania, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Ireland, Denmark, Poland, Portugal, Italy, Sweden, Slovakia and Cyprus. 
As interesting as this is, I think you will agree there is far too much going on. So as much I hate to say it after making all that, I think the best way is to put an EU flag on a shield, but still adding a crest and supporters:
Apart from the shield most of the stuff has stayed the same except the supporters. As the flag is now on the shield I think you will agree, that there is no need for flag supporters, so I replaced them with symbols of Liberty and Justice, which was inspired by the New York coat of arms. Although as the Liberty figure has connections with the French Revolution I am not sure it is completely neutral. 

Your Comments are welcome. 

Friday, 19 April 2013

Armed Forces Flags (Brazil)

This was very much inspired by a post on the blog of a fellow vexillology fan, Leonardo Piccioni. He made a suggestion for the flag  Joint Staff of Armed Forces (Estado-Maior Conjunto das Forças Armadas or) See Here. I thought I'd go a little further and make flags for the individual armed services. 

 Exército do Brasil (Brazilian Army)

 First is the ceremonial standard of the army. For the one currently used see here. I did little to improve it but what I did do makes a big difference:

I used the army coat of arms, but I only used the shield and motto. I also used a blue, red, blue field as these are the traditional colours of the army, (which I find amusing as they are also the colours of the British Foot Guard regiments.) It also has the ceremonial streamers in the national colours and emblem, which I find charming. 
The non ceremonial flag for the army is below:
The inspiration is the national flag. Unlike the flags of the other armed forces, I didn't use the traditional colours colours, but kept a green field. The reason for this is green is used to represent the army on the joint staff flag. 
Next is the command flags. The flag for commander of the army features the coat of arms and traditional colours see here. My version is below:
It does conform to the same layout, but I decided to use a banner of arms at the hoist rather than the full coat of arms. I also change the colours at the fly to the national colours, as red and blue are already in the banner of arms in the hoist. 
There are two flags for chief of the Office of Commander of the Army, depending on if the officer in that position is a Brigadier General or Major General. See Here. For purposes of simplicity I decided to use one flag regardless of rank:
This has the army flag (non ceremonial) at the hoist and the colours at the fly. 
The rest of the command flags I think work okay and don't need changed, you can see them here.

Marinha do Brasil (Brazilian Navy)

The Brazilian Navy uses the national flag as its ensign, and the Cruzeiro as the Naval Jack. See Here. The flags that I am proposing are either Command Flags and Pennants or for use on shore. For example the cerimonal standard of the Navy. See Here. My proposal is below:
Rather than a silver/grey field I think white is more appropriate. I also added a blue boarder with the stars from the naval jack, and the ceremonial steamers, other than that I have changed very little. 
The non ceremonial flag of the navy is below. This flag would be used on shore bases or in unoffical ways like sporting events etc.  
Inspired by the national flag, it has a white field with a blue diamond with the insignia of the navy. the text could be removed.
The Navy I feel has a lot of rank flags which are very similar and in my opinion very easy to be mistaken. See Here. So here are my alternative proposals for the senior officials:
The flag of Commander of the Navy is white so that it stands out. I took away the star emblem and moved the anchor to the canton.

The Chief of Staff of the Navy is almost exactly the same but with the crossed anchors moved to the canton.
I did the same thing for Commander of Naval Operations. Moved the anchor to the canton.
the Admiralty flag I took away the anchors and simplified the star in the canton by removing the southern cross design. 
The flag for Commander in Chief of the Fleet, is the same as the admiralty but I added an anchor. there is also a flag for patron of the navy but since this seems to be a ceremonial flag I decided not to change it. 
I also simplified the rank flag of flag officers. Some of the flags differ depending on if the officer is in command or not. As the senior rank would be in command I think this is a little pointless. So to keep things simple my flags represent rank only. I also used a star system which is simple but easy to identify in rough weather or combat compared to the current flags.
Admiral of the Fleet
Vice Admiral
Rear Admiral
I assume a Commodore would have a single star?
Staying with the navy is the flag of the Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais, (Corps of Naval Fusiliers)  the Brazilian Marine Corps:
 Again I have changed very little from the current flagIn fact what I have changed is really down to personal preference. I moved the star to the canton and the coat of arms to the bottom corner of the fly end.
The rank flags are similar to the naval ones so my alternatives are also similar, but are red to distinguish them as marines.
Commandant-General of the Marine Corps
Vice Admiral commanding a force of Marines
Rear Admiral commanding a force of Marines
Captain commanding a force of Marines
Commander or Lt Commander commanding a force of Marines

Força Aérea Brasileira (Brazilian Air Force)

I was unable to find any ceremonial standard of the Air Force so my design is completely original: 
It features a sky blue field with a dark blue diamond on which is the coat of arms of the air force. Again the inspiration was the national flag. The diamond has a green and gold boarder. 
The non ceremonial flag is based on the Air Force Fin Flash:
It also has a blue diamond but with the Air Force insignia rather than the full coat of arms. 
Like the army the rank flags and flags of senior offices are very good and I wouldn't change. However I would change the flag of Commander of the Air Force:
Similar to the current one but with the aircraft roundel rather than coat of arms symbolising the Air Force.
To see the current rank flags click here .

Please Feel Free to Comment

All proposal  on this page in this post are designed by me

Monday, 15 April 2013

St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

Since 2009 this British overseas territory has officially had 3 equal parts: St Helena, Ascension, and Tristan Da Cunha.  StHelena and Tristan have flags, and Ascension's proposal will no doubt be officially approved eventually.
When the territory was St Helena and dependencies, one could take the St Helena flag as the flag, but now all parts are equal, the territory as a whole seems to lack a flag. 
First I thought of using part of the individual coat of arms for each island on the arms for the new flag. The bird is for Saint Helena, the tortoise for Ascension Island and the blue and white diamond for Tristan da Cunha. The three stars are for the three islands:
The proposal from my friend Leonardo Piccioni is below:
Proposal by Leonardo Piccioni

The Portuguese ship represents the fact that the Saint Helena, Tristan da Cunha and Ascension were all discovered in name of Portuguese crown. The Latin cross represent the fact that St. Helen of Constantinople is referred as who discovered the "True Cross", the cross where Christ was crucified. It's red in a reference to English flag.
I like the idea of the Portuguese cross so I added it to the chief of the arms on the next proposal.
I used sea shells to represent the individual islands, because I wanted something more creative than stars. Ships are evident on the arms of all three islands and Leonardo's design, so the islands clearly have large maritime links and a relationship with the sea. I thought an anchor would be a better way to demonstrate this from a heraldry point of view. It also represents hope or steadfastness. The colours of red, white, blue, green and gold comes from the individual arms of the islands: 

I also had ago at a complete set of arms. The crest has the ship of the Ascension crest and the naval crown of Tristan da Cunha. The supporters are from Tristan da Cunha and Ascension coat of arms. The motto "Our Faith makes us Unshakable" is original but has element of the Tristan da Cunha (Our Faith) and St Helena (Unshakable) mottoes:

All Comments welcome:
All designs are by me unless stated otherwise.