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  GUERNSEY FLAG AND ARMS      

Guernsey Flag

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THE GUERNSEY FLAG

The people of Guernsey proudly fly the island's own flag - a red Cross of St George superimposed by a gold cross of distinctive shape. It provides an historic link with time when Guernsey was part of the Duchy of Normandy, governed by William the Conqueror. But it also reflects the Islands present-day independence and its long constitutional relationship with the English Crown.

The flag is quite young - it was designed in 1985. before then, Guernsey used a simple Cross of St George. However, this led to confusion with its use as the Flag of England - at the Commonwealth Games English and Guernsey teams used the same flag, leading other competitors to believe England had two teams!

The States of Guernsey therefore decided that a new flag was needed. A Committee was set up under the chairmanship of the then Deputy Bailiff, Sir Graham Dorey, and, after much research, proposed that the Cross of St George continue to be used, but with the gold cross shown on the gonfanon (banner) of William the Conqueror, which appears on the Bayeux Tapestry.

Her Majesty The Queen granted a Royal Warrant for the flag. Its Blazon (official description) is:

"Argent a Cross Gules thereon a Guernsey Cross (being a representation of the Cross on the banner of William of Normandy ) Gold. "

 The new Flag was first flown on the 9 th May 1985 - the 40 th anniversary of the island's Liberation from Second World War Occupation. Its bold and bright design can be seen on all festive occasions.

The red Cross of St George also forms the basis of the Alderney and Sark Flags, and therefore provides a common theme for the flags used in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

Although Guernsey 's own flag is generally used, the Union Flag is flown from public buildings on designated days, such as the Queen's Birthday. And it is also flown every day from the top of Castle Cornet, to signify the Castle's historical connections with the British Army.

THE GUERNSEY ENSIGN

The gold cross of William also appears on a special Ensign for use by Guernsey residents who are British subjects. They may fly the Ensign on vessels which are registered or certificated in their own names, regardless of where they sail. Companies which are registered and have their principal place of business in the Island may fly the Guernsey Ensign on their vessels, when operating in waters adjacent to the Channel Islands.

The Blazon of the Guernsey Ensign is:

"Gules in the Canton the flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and in the Fly a Guernsey Cross (being a representation of the Cross on the banner of William of Normandy) Gold. "

The Ensign may be seen on many Guernsey boats, and it is also flown on Fort Grey Shipwreck Museum when it is open to the public.

THE ARMS OF GUERNSEY

The Arms of Guernsey derive from the Arms of England and a seal granted by King Edward I in 1279 for use in the Channel Islands . The Guernsey shield is distinguished from the English Arms (and the Jersey Arms) by having a sprig, which originally formed the stop marking the division between the beginning and end of the motto S'Ballivie Insule De Gernereye, (The Bailiwick of Guernsey) which ran around the shield.

The Shield is commonly, but incorrectly referred to as the 'Guernsey Crest'. Guernsey 's ten parishes also have their own shields.

 

Further information on the Flag, Ensign and Arms appears in Billet d'Etat VI, 1985.

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