Saturday, 22 February 2014

Heraldic Designs

Here is a post of three new coat of arms designs. These are a new design for the Prince of Wales, a national coat of arms for France and a design for the Lifeboat Institution.

Prince of Wales

I noticed that HRH The Prince Charles, Prince of Wales has quite a few titles as the heir apparent and therefore various coats of arms and badges in his various roles see:
Coat of arms of (left) Duchy of Cornwall, (Centre) Duke of Rothesay, (Right) Prince of Wales and (Below) Badge of the Prince of Wales:
 As can be seen from the Prince of Wales coat of arms it has quite a few symbols including the Cornwall arms, welsh dragon, Royal arms of Wales and even the heraldic badge. So my idea was in a similar way why not combine all the different coats of arms into one that could be used anywhere and everywhere? The Result:
Like the Prince of Wales coat of arms it features a shield imposed upon the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom, however this is quartered with the historic arms of the Principality of Wales in the 1st and 4th quarter. The Duke of Rothesay arms in the 2nd and the Duchy of Cornwall arms in the 3rd. there is no crown of the heir apparent topping the shield as it is on top of the helmet already and I think the Prince of Wales coat of arms is a little overkill on crowns with the crown appearing on it five times, compared to only twice on my design. There is no label as I don't think this is needed as the arms are already distinguished from the coat of arms of the monarch.  The feathers of the badge have become the crest (which is actually what they were historically). The Dragon has replaced the unicorn for two reasons first and foremost dragoons are cool and secondly its a historic symbol of wales and as Prince of Wales is the heir apparent's primary title in all parts of the UK (even Scotland), this is one of the rare heraldic occasions where Wales (dragon) trumps Scotland (unicorn). You could just drop the Royal Arms of the UK altogether and just use the Welsh, Rothesay and Cornish arms but I think as he is first inline for the throne he should keep them.



 I was surprised when I found out that the French Republic has no official coat of arms or heraldic emblem! Although there are a few unofficial ones:
Left is the symbol above the entrance to the Senate, centre is sometimes used on an unofficial basis, and right appears of the French passport and is used by diplomatic buildings like embassies, none of them have official status however. indeed the last true coat of arms of France were used by Napoleon III! I thought this needed rectifying and came up with this:
The emblem that appears on the passport and building is the centrepiece of the arms. The boarder features 27 Fluer de lys representing all the regions of France. The colours reflect the flag. The supporters are two cockerels the national animal of France. The one on the right bears an interpretation of the Oriflamme the emblem of the Carolingian Empire (800–888AD) and is the earliest known flag of France. While the one on the left carries le Tricolour the modern flag of modern France.  The cap on top of the helm most commonly known as the liberty cap has its origins in the French Revolution and is a symbol of the republic. The motto which is currently used by the French state also has its origins in the revolution. 


If any organisation deserves a coat of arms it is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), which an organisation who operates 24/7 365 days a year search & rescue boats and beach lifeguards all over the British Isles, and despite the term 'royal' receives no government aid or funding but is completely financed by public donations! In 2012 RNLI lifeboats were called out 8,321 times rescuing an average of 22 people a day often in extreme and dangerous circumstances. The emblem of the RNLI is their house flag which is well known around the British Iles and is in the logo:
It is also the justifiable centrepiece of my coat of arms design:
The crest features a naval crown with a Severn Class seagoing lifeboat on a rough sea. The supporters are seahorses. From what I am aware the RNLI has no official motto, although the family motto of its founder "With courage, nothing is impossible." and "Let not the deep swallow me up" as well as "Always Ready" and "Never turn Back" are all unofficially associated with lifeboat crews and memorials. Personally I thought "Always Ready" and "Never turn Back" were the most inspiring and so I used the motto.  

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Ulster-Scots flag

Many ethnic groups and peoples have their own flags, such as the Australian aboriginal flag or the Irish-American flag and many others. This is a region of Vexillology I haven't really explored before and I think now is a good time to start. So to begin with I think I will start with my own ethnicity; Ulster-Scots (also known as Scotch-Irish or Scots-Irish in the Americas).
Ulster-Scots are people or descendants of people who came to the province of Ulster from Scotland, mostly during the plantations of the 17th Century although it can include emigrations from before then and since.
Ulster-Scots don't exactly have a lack of flags, but a lot of them could be inappropriate for some people to use:

First thing wrong with these flags is the use the former Northern Ireland flag/coat of arms, and while a lot of Ulster-Scots live in N.Ireland many also live in Counties Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan in the Irish Republic, so these flags could be seen as inappropriate by them. Secondly they are evidently unionist, and while many Ulster-Scots are Unionist, one does not need to be Ulster-Scots to be Unionist, or Unionist to be Ulster-Scots.
The Ulster-Scots Agency I think used this flag for while but it was never a formal flag of the Ulster-Scots people:
Likewise the Ulster Nationalist flag is also often used as an Ulster-Scots flag due to its combination of St Andrew's and St Patrick's Crosses:
But again due to the inclusion of the six pointed star this would be inappropriate for the three Ulster counties in the Republic of Ireland.
This lack of a flag is highlighted on the Wikipedia page on the topic, where the Royal Standard of the kingdom of Ireland, Ulster Flag and St Andrew's Cross are used as associated flags but these are not definitive Ulster-Scots flags.
Some people have had goes at designing one I found these on Wikis, based on the Ulster Flag and Royal Banner of Scotland.

I really like the first one although I think it is just a little too complicated, the other I like the idea but would reframe from using the lion rampant as it is technically a royal banner and while it is often used as a second flag of Scotland, people have often been caught out and fined for using it.

My proposal for an Ulster-Scots flag is a combination of the Ulster flag, St Patrick's Cross and St Andrews Cross combined in a way similar to the Union Flag:

On a personal note I think this is hideous, I don't like the contrast of blue and white that is created. So I decided to create a new design and drop the St Patrick's Cross from the design:
The St Andrew's Cross in invererted for two reasons, first it looks too much like a mock up Union Jack if it isn't, and secondly the inverted St Andrew's Cross is often used to demonstrate a close link or association with St Andrew or Scotland, but at the same time demonstrate something that is distinctively independent of Scotland or even not Scottish! Such examples include the Nova Scotia flag, and Russian naval ensign, another example is Leonardo Piccioni's flag design for an independent Northern Isles.
While this flag is supposed to be universal and can be used by Ulster-Scots or people of Ulster-Scots descent all over the world, I think that the Ulster-Scots of the United States deserve a special flag of their own due to the impact of the Ulster-Scots (or Scots-Irish as they are known as in the USA) had on modern day America. So here is my Scots-Irish-American flag:
Same principle behind the inverted St Andrew's cross. With the American bald headed eagle supporting the red hand of ulster, the three stars can symbolise a variety of things such as Scotland, Ireland, America or past, present, future etc.  The idea of using the eagle came from 1794 'Whiskey' Rebellion flag, which would have been used by Scots-Irish communities during that conflict.

Coat of Arms

I know most ethnic groups don't have, need or use a coat of arms, however fallowing some woeful attempts at heraldry by Ulster-Scots or people wishing to symbolise Ulster-Scots like this I think an exception is in order:
 My design very much inspired by the Nova Scotia coat of arms is this:
The shield itself features an inverted St Andrew's Cross deface with the arms of the Province of Ulster.
The supporters come from both the former Scottish and Northern Ireland coats of arms. The Unicorn symbolising the ancient Kingdom of Scotland and the Elk the historic Kingdom of Ireland. They both carry the flag of their respective kingdom and bear the arms of it.
The base has stones from the Giant's Causeway (a symbol of civic Ulster pride) as well as the Shamrock (of Ireland) and the Thistle (of Scotland).
The crest based on the Scots-Irish-American flag has an eagle supporting six stars in a saltire again represent the significant contribution of the Ulster-Scots to the USA.
The motto is Scots for "Born Fighting" which is taken from the title of a book by US Senator James Webb, himself of Ulster descent who wrote a history of the Scots-Irish from Roman times to modern day America. It reflects the often turbulent history and recognises that often the main contribution of the Ulster-Scots in world wide British Colonies and the nations that came after them was a military one.  

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Naval Heraldry

In this post I am going to look at an interesting and relatively unexplored category of heraldry, naval heraldry. traditionally ships could distinguish themselves from each other by gilding, paintwork and decorative figureheads like this one from the first true iron warship HMS Warrior, below:
Sometimes these were even based on coats of arms like the figurehead of Nelsons flagship in 1805 HMS Victory:
(A little off topic but It is also interesting to note that despite being over 200 years old, Victory is still a commissioned ship in the Royal Navy which is why she is flying the Union Jack from her bow "jack staff" in the above picture).
However in the mid 19th century such decorative items were actively discouraged or banned outright by most of the worlds navies, partly because of cost and partly because of ships starting to fallow a more uniformed pattern decoration and display.  So ships started adopting badges, coats of arms, crests, seals and other distinctive marks to identify themselves. In the Royal Navy this began in the mid 1800s and was unregulated to begin with. Initially they were markings on equipment belonging to the ship, or on the ships longboat so sailors could easily identify which boat belonged to which ship while in port (and thus know which to get into). The use of heraldry eventually began to be used on the ships themselves, thus beginning modern naval heraldry.
A common feature in the naval heraldry of quite a lot of nations is the naval crown, so I think its a good idea to briefly explain what this is:
Basically its a crown (normally gold) surmounted with the bows and sails of ships. Originally the naval crown was an award in the Roman Military and was awarded to the first man to board an enemy ship. (a similar idea was behind the camp or palisade crown awarded to the first man to enter an enemy camp during an attack) In heraldry the naval crown is surmounted on top of badges and shields of ships or maritime related badges and coats of arms.
Like heraldry itself naval heraldry differs from nation to nation so here are a few examples:

Royal Navy

In the United Kingdom as already mentioned ships were using heraldry since the 19th century. However in 1918, after designing heraldic badges for a few ships, a certain Charles Ffoulkes of the Imperial War Museum was appointed the Admiralty advisor on Heraldry. Soon a special ship's badge committee was established to create badges for ships.
The standard design was a badge with a rope border, surmounted by a naval crown, below which was the name of the ship. Originally the shape of the badge represented what type of ship it belonged to. Circles were for battleships, pentagons for cruisers, a 'U' shape shield for destroyers, and a diamond for auxiliary units, aircraft carriers and small commissioned vessels like torpedo boats.  The inside of the badge was and is unique to each ship.
Badge of the light cruiser HMS Dublin which served between 1912 and 1924
A problem with this is that as names are often reused in the Royal Navy, a different ship bearing the same name as a past ship might not be the same type and so the bade would need to be redesigned each time. So in 1940 the badges were standardised to the modern design which is a circular design. After WWII ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary have pentagon shaped badges, and shore bases diamond shapes for example:

 Left to right badge of the Type 45 (Daring Class) destroyer HMS Dauntless(left), Royal Fleet Auxiliary support ship RFA Fort Victoria (centre), and the Scottish naval base HMS Caledonia (right).
Ships badges (sometimes incorrectly called ships crest) are mounted on the ship's superstructure. badges are reused the same as names, so with each name being approved by the Queen the badge is also approved. The only ship in the Royal Navy that has a completely original badge is the type 22 Frigate HMS Chatham as none of the previous Chathams' had badges:

Royal Australian Navy

Judging that the Australian Navy originated as a colonial branch of the British Navy, it is not supersizing that Australian Naval Heraldry is based on and fallows the example of badges in the Royal Navy. Initially before World War Two badges were approved by the Admiralty in London, however fallowing the war a body known as the Names, badges and honours committee took over this role.
It is important to note that while Australian and British badges are similar they are not identical and have a number of distinctive differences.
The name on an Australian badge is on a scroll rather than the name plaque of a British one. Below the badge there is a scroll for the ships motto (something I think Royal navy ships should adopt as most also have mottos but don't display them on their badge). Between the motto and the rope circle is a boomerang and crossed axe and nulla nulla, aboriginal weapons identifying the ship as Australian.
Badge of the Adelaide Class guided missile frigate HMAS Sydney

Royal Canadian Navy

Like the Australians, heraldry in the Canadian Navy is based on the British Navy. However unlike the Aussies, the RCN ship badge is almost identical to a Royal navy badge but for a coloured name plaque and three gold maple laves at the bottom of the badge.
In WW2 the supply of ships was two great for the heraldic authorities to cope with, so local authority was granted to a ships commanding officer to adopt a badge, thus many war time badges featured popular cartoon characters. however these were regarded as unofficial. Authority to grant a ship badge now comes from the Governor General.
badge of Iroquois class destroyer HMCS Iroquois


 Royal Norwegian Navy

The Norwegian navy heraldry is similar to that used on land, the difference being the shield has a rope boarder. The Norwegian Navy don't use the Naval crown but use the Royal crown of Norway instead. What the badge depicts is often inspired by the ships name for example HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen bears the Nansen coat of arms, alternatively the badge may depict the ship's function:

United States Navy

 Unlike commonwealth and other navies the US Navy does not display heraldic items on its ship's superstructures. USN ships do bear heraldic badges though, these are often worn as arm patches on the uniform of the crew. US navy badges are commonly called both seals and crests. It is up to the first captain of a new ship to design his ship's "crest" and submit it for approval. In this her/she has a lot of leeway, and may seek the services of the US Army's Heraldry Branch, (and I think it is obvious which ships appear to have done this). As a result the badges vary greatly, however there does appear to be some common patterns. Most designs appear in a rope circle or oval, with the ship's full name at the top and number at the bottom. Many of the badges themselves include very well thought of and designed coats of arms often complete with crest and supporters, the two most common design types appear to be these:
 Not all of the American ship badges have coats of arms some depict images of the vessel itself or other historic vessels that bore the same name, or say something about the ship:


 It is obvious that the Missouri is a nuclear submarine and one can tell by the nuclear atom symbol and missile in the badge of the Mississippi that it is a nuclear powered guided missile cruiser.

 Irish Defence Forces (Naval Service)

Despite having a very small navy the Republic of Ireland has formed its own maritime heraldry and grants its ships badges. They appear to be based on the emblem of the naval service. Below is the emblem of the naval service and that of the LE Aoife:


 Military - Maritime Fleet of the Russian Federation

The Russian Navy uses a coat of arms based design with the naval ensign in the chief of the arms with a Russian double eagle with a naval crown, the shield is often flanked by two anchors. Example is the badge of the RFS Admiral Chabanenko:

 Portuguese Navy

The coats of arms consist of a round tip shield (Portuguese shield), topped by a naval crown and under which is placed a scroll with the motto or the name of the body or unit. A scroll with the war cry of the unit can be placed above the naval crown. These designs include many units and ships and even the navy itself, Navy coat of arms (left) and NRP Antonio Enes (left) below
Also of interest is that the Portuguese Navy uses Heraldic flags, depending on the unit these may be a banner, standard or pennant.
Portuguese Naval heraldry also appears to be the basis of naval heraldry in some South American Countries notably Chile.