15th February 1985

Guernsey gets its own flag

Guernsey had an identity problem. Its flag, which it had used since 1936, was the Cross of St George: the same as the one flown by England.

While there’s nothing wrong with the cross itself, it was leading to confusion – particularly at sporting events. Some rival teams were assuming England had entered twice; others, that England and Guernsey’s teams were one.

Something had to be done to differentiate Guernsey, and help it stand out. The ‘thing’ was a flag of its own.

In 1983, the Bailiff, Graham Dorey, founded the Guernsey Flag Investigation Committee to come up with an alternative. The brief was simple: reflect Guernsey’s link to the ‘English’ throne, alongside its French heritage.

This wasn’t the first time the question of a dedicated Guernsey flag had arisen. Similar studies in 1906 and 1935 had failed to deliver, and after the 1935 effort Edward VIII gave consent for Guernsey to share England’s emblem. This time, though, the committee was more successful.

Guernsey flag

Guernsey’s new flag

It retained the cross of St George, but overlaid it with the gold cross of William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy. It was a masterstroke, and much more clever than it appeared. Not only did the gold cross represent Guernsey’s Norman roots, the overlaying of one on the other hints at the unified English and French thrones. William had, after all, united the two when he won the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

In coming to this conclusion, the committee had rejected several other proposals. Some of those put forward had carried too much detail to be visible at a distance. Others had focused on green, Guernsey’s traditional colour, but this was felt inappropriate.

The new flag needed a Royal Warrant before it could be flown, which the Queen granted on 15 February 1985. It was officially adopted on 30 April, and flown for the first time on 9 May, the 40th anniversary of Guernsey’s liberation.

 

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Other events that occured in February

Mail ship wrecked on Black Rock 1st
Oil rig stranded at Grandes Rocques
Birth of Generaloberst Friedrich Dollmann 2nd
Death of Sir Charles Hayward 3rd
St Martin’s parish church consecrated 4th
Guernsey suffers its worst storm in 35 years 5th
Guernsey watchmaker helps Stone of Scone manhunt 6th
Guernsey Language Commission formed 7th
Queen Mary executed while wearing Guernsey stockings 8th
Guernsey gets its first postbox
Guernsey Society celebrates its 70th anniversary 9th
Guernsey’s last execution didn’t go according to plan 10th
The last issue of GUNS was distributed 11th
Alderney gets its first full-time radio station 12th
Guernsey’s last duel 13th
Specsavers’ Mary Perkins was born 14th
Blue Islands takes to the skies
Guernsey gets its own flag 15th
Birth of concrete poet Dom Sylvester Houedard 16th
HMS Guernsey launched in Aberdeen 17th
Guernsey’s first Methodist minister arrives 18th
Aurigny Air Services founded 19th
Guernsey Railway Company runs its first services 20th
The Channel Islands were cut off from the outside world 21st
St Sampson was ordained a bishop 22nd
Death of Thomas Fiott de Havilland 23rd
Murder inquiry ends with suicide 24th
Death of occupation resister Marie Ozanne 25th
Guernsey’s first banker dies 26th
Release of Reverend Harry Samuel 27th
Plans for St Sampson power station approved 28th
Second World War bomb detonated 29th