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Last modified: 2024-07-13 by rob raeside
Keywords: bermuda | caribbean | red ensign | lion | wreck | sea venture | bonaventura | somers islands |
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image by Clay Moss, 24 November 2005

Official Name: Bermuda
Capital: Hamilton
Flag adopted: 4 October 1910
Coat of arms adopted: 4 October 1910

See also:

The Flag

The shade of red on British Union flags and derived ensigns is a dark red. The Pantone reference is 186. It is slightly different from "Old Glory" red which is Pantone 185.
Graham Bartram, 13 September 2000

"The national flag of Bermuda is composed of a red background with the Union Flag (or Jack) in the upper left corner and the Bermuda coat of arms in the lower fly. From 1910, when Bermuda received its own Coat of Arms, unofficial versions of the Union Flag incorporating the Arms appeared in Bermuda. The present national flag was officially approved in October of 1967."
There is also a picture showing the reverse side of the flag.
Gvido Pētersons, 16 November 2000

What I believe is still the effective Merchant Shipping Act relating to Bermuda (1988 (Bermuda) Order 1991) confirmed undefaced Red Ensign as the proper colours for ships.
David Prothero, 12 August 2002

The Bermuda Red Ensign was "established" as a sea flag in 1915 but have no record of by whom, and  this seems to be in contradiction of the Merchant Shipping (Bermuda) Order of (from memory) 1991 or thereabouts, which stated (or perhaps confirmed?) that the undefaced Red Ensign was the proper colours for ships registered in Bermuda? 
 I also have it that the defaced Red Ensign was "authorized" for use on land in 1967 (no date), but again, no record of who authorized it?
Christopher Southworth, 14 June 2005

19 August 1955 - Colonial Office to Admiralty. Governor of Bermuda reports; "Despite the fact that no official recognition appears to have been given to it, Red Ensign with the arms of the colony in the fly is widely used here, not only on privately owned vessels but also on private buildings ashore."
"Records of Colonial Office show no authorisation has been given for the use of the Red Ensign in this manner, but its practice is evidently well established and it would probably be difficult to attempt to discontinue the practice."
Head of Naval Law noted that the only flags authorised for Bermuda were the defaced Union Flag and Blue Ensign, and Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.  Red Ensign with arms was without sanction or authority from Admiralty. Admiralty would be unable to give any authority to regularise this misuse of the flag. It was therefore for consideration, whether on political grounds the practice should be allowed to continue without interference, and if so whether such an attitude was likely to impair in any way, the Admiralty's control over British flags.  It was not unlikely that similar irregularities were occurring elsewhere.
The Admiralty Archivist was unable to trace any reference to the origin of the use of the defaced Red Ensign in Bermuda.   14 September 1955 - Head of Military Branch wrote that prohibition of a long-standing custom could be resented.  The position should be explained and further action left to the discretion of the Governor. [National Archives (PRO) ADM 1/26283].
David Prothero, 16 June 2005

 In the current issue of BR20 (and based on a flag of 60 units x 120 units) the shield is centred on the fly half, is 34 units high x 27 units across with the square being 25 units deep.
Christopher Southworth, 20 November 2005

Specifications for the flag

The protocol manual for the London 2012 Olympics (Flags and Anthems Manual London 2012 [loc12]) provides recommendations for national flag designs. Each NOC was sent an image of the flag, including the PMS shades, for their approval by LOCOG. Once this was obtained, LOCOG produced a 60 x 90 cm version of the flag for further approval. So, while these specs may not be the official, government, version of each flag, they are certainly what the NOC believed the flag to be.
For Bermuda: PMS 032 red, 281 blue, process blue, 468 brown, 497 brown, 109 yellow, black, 248 green. The vertical version is simply the flag turned through 90 degrees clockwise.
Ian Sumner, 10 October 2012

British colors are used. Graham Bartram wrote in 2000 that the color shade is Pantone 186, which is slightly different from "Old Glory" red which is Pantone 185”.

Other sources for colors:

The Flag Manual - Beijing 2008 gives PMS 032 (red), PMS 109 (yellow), PMS 281 (blue), PMS 348 (green), PMS 468 (brown), PMS 497 (light brown), PMS Process blue, and PMS Black.

The Album des Pavillons 2000 [pay00] (Corr. No. 6.) doesn’t give any color specification for Bermuda flag.

Flags and Anthems Manual London 2012 [loc12] gives PMS 032 (red, PMS 281 (dark blue), PMS Process Blue, PMS 468 (beige), PMS 497 (brown), PMS 109 (yellow), PMS Black, PMS 348 (green).

The Album des Pavillons 2023 doesn’t give any color specification for Bermuda flag.

Vexilla Mundi gives colors in Pantone system: PMS 186C (red), PMS 281C (blue), and PMS White.

Wikipedia doesn’t give any color specification for Bermuda flag.

Zoltan Horvath, 19 April 2024

Previous (pre-1999) Flag

image by Clay Moss, 23 November 2005

Variant flags

Unconfirmed Variant with the Motto

image by Antonio Martins, 1 April 2000

In Graham Bartram's BR 20 change 5 page, the Bermuda's ensigns, flag and Coat of Arms do not display the motto.
Armand du Payrat , 4 April 2000

The official version does not bear the motto, but this is an area that you do get variations. I've seen British Virgin Island flags without the motto, so I suppose its equally likely that Bermudan flags exist with the motto, but the official design is sans motto.
Graham Bartram , 4 April 2000

There seems to be some controversy over whether the motto is used on any Bermuda flag. I can say that I have never seen it, whether directly on an ensign or in a white disc.
Aidan Stones, 19 May 2000

Variant with square badge

image located by BlinxCat, 18 June 2024

This is a variant of the Bermudan flag I've seen at least a few times before, all of which I believe are 12x18 parade waving size flags, I've never seen a full-on-sized flag with this style before. In this variant, the badge is placed on a white rectangle, similar to how most pre-1999 British territorial ensigns had a white disk but as far I know, there was no officially adopted Bermuda flag with a white disk (although some do exist unofficially by certain flag makers) or rectangle.
BlinxCat, 18 June 2024

Use of Ensigns by Foreign Ships

Foreign civilian ships visiting any British Overseas Territory should fly, as a courtesy flag, the Territory's own Red Ensign, if the territory has one and the ship happens to carry one. The undefaced British Red Ensign is always an acceptable alternative. If the ship is a Foreign government vessel it should fly the Territory's Blue Ensign. Foreign warships should fly a British White Ensign.
Basically the British rule is that you may use either the appropriate Red, Blue or White ensign (depending upon your own status) or the land flag, except that you cannot use the Union Flag at all.
Graham Bartram, 1 April 1999

Bermuda College

The flag of Bermuda College, which is organized on the model of an American liberal arts college even though Bermuda is actually governed by the UK, can be seen on a web site belonging to Hamptoin University in Virginia, a traditionally Afro-American institution. The Bermuda College flag is at
More information on Bermuda College at
Ron Lahav, 10 August 2006