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British Heligoland 1814-1890


Last modified: 2011-06-10 by jarig bakker
Keywords: helgoland |
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[Civil Flag and Ensign (British Heligoland 1814-1890)] 2:3 image by Jorge Candeias
Civil Flag and Ensign

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In Norie and Hobbs 1848, are three flags of Helgoland (British), all proportions 2:3:
- on a red field a white eagle;
- horizontal green-red-white with Union Flag in the canton;
- horizontal white-red-green,
Jarig Bakker, 28 Sep 2000

Civil Flag and Ensign, reported 1848

 [Civil Flag and Ensign (British Heligoland 1814-1890)] 1:2 image by Jorge Candeias

Horizontal tricolor green-red-white. Variants in 2:3 and 1:2.
Norman Martin, Mar 1998

Optional Civil Flag and Ensign, reported 1848 and 1862

[Optional Civil Flag and Ensign (British Heligoland 1814-1890)] image by Željko Heimer

During the British period (1814-1890) the canton with the union flag was frequently (usually?) added to the Heligoland tricolor. It was removed in 1890.
Roy Stilling, 15 Dec 1995

Horizontal tricolor green-red-white. In the canton, the British union jack. Heligoland was under British rule 1814-1890.
Norman Martin, 30 May 1998

The Governor of Heligoland wrote in a despatch dated 11 May 1888 (PRO file ADM 116/300):
"The tricolour is flown on shore and in their boats and some have added the English Jack to mark their English nationality. It is a private flag entirely optional on the part of the people, who, if engaged by the week or month, fly as a rule in their pleasure boats during the season the national flag of the visitor hiring them who generally provides one for the purpose."
David Prothero, 1 Jul 1998

In a reply of 19th May 1888, the Colonial Office wrote that the striped flag, "was not officially recognised" and that "the [undefaced] Red Ensign should be used, but not of sufficient importance for any further action to be taken". In my opinion it is unlikely that the green-red-white striped flag with or without the Union Flag canton was made in 1:2. Proportions of 3:5 or 5:8 are more likely.
David Prothero, 27 Sep 2000

Flag Variants (probably mistaken)

[Heligoland (Germany)] image by Jorge Candeias

Reported also horizontal white, red, green, but probably is a mistake.
Norman Martin, Mar 1998

Other reported local flag by Flaggenmitteilung 102. Horizontal yellow, green, light blue.
Jaume Ollé, 1 Jul 1998

Unidentified 19th Century Flag, reported 1848

[Heligoland 1848 (Germany)] image by Jaume Ollé

A white eagle on a red field.
Norman Martin, Mar 1998

Governor's Flag

[Governor's Flag (British Heligoland 1814-1890)] 1:2 image by Jaume Ollé

There was no white disc or garland on the Governor's Union Flag; the shield and crown badge was applied direct as on the flag of the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. Source: PRO document CO 325/54.
David Prothero, 27 Sep 2000

post office flag

[post office flag] image sent by Miles Li, 29 Jan 2009

Here is a photo of the former post office flag of the German island of Helgoland while under British rule as Heligoland.
Source: island website.
Miles Li, 29 Jan 2009

Interesting - The only British Helgoland flag I've seen referred to before is nothing like this, but has the UJ in the corner of a flag with three plain horizontal stripes of green, red and white. No crown, and certainly not in the Weimar/Current German colours!
James Dignan, 30 Jan 1009

The flag on the photo is actually the Helgoland green-red-white; the age of the flag means that the white stripe has gone yellow (much like old newspapers do), which is why you thought it is in the German colours.
Note however that the UJ on the flag does not have the two saltires counterchanged, which suggests that the flag was probably home-made.
Miles Li, 30 Jan 2009

Reported State Flag and Ensign 1870-1890 (mistaken or unofficial)

[State Flag and Ensign (British Heligoland 1814-1890)] 1:2 image by Jaume Ollé

There is no record of a Blue Ensign defaced with the shield of Heligoland ever having been used. It can usually be assumed that a badge that appeared on a Governor's Union Flag was also used on the Blue Ensign, but the Colonial Office Flag Book (CO 325/54) refers only to the Governor's flag. It does not prove that there was not one, but if there was, I think that there would not have been a white disc, and probably no crown.
David Prothero, 28 Sep 2000

Source for this flag is Longueville's Flags and badges of the British Commonwealth. Surely David Prothero is right and no public record exists, but probably it existed and public records were lost. I believe that arms were pictured in a post stamp and after c. 1860 the british colonies could use the arms or badge in the ensign. I don't know any reason why Helgoland could be an exception and was excluded from the general normative.
Jaume Ollé, 30 Sep 2000

The source was a Colonial Office work book (CO 325/54) in which badges and flags were recorded as they were approved. It still does not prove that there was not a Heligoland Blue Ensign. Clerks make mistakes, and unauthorised flags are used, but the probability that there was no Heligoland Blue Ensign is supported by the absence of Blue Ensigns for Isle of Man, Guernsey and Alderney. Jersey's Blue Ensign was not approved until 1906. The first Colonial Office Circular about colonial Blue Ensigns was sent out 16th January 1866. Governors did not have the right to introduce any flag or ensign until it had been approved by the Colonial Office and the Admiralty.
David Prothero, 1 Oct 2000

Guernsey, Jersey and Man were not colonies but dependencies. According to Longueville's Flags and badges of the British Commonwealth the blue ensign with arms in circle, for Helgoland, was used 1870-1890 (no red ensign) and also in garland in the Union Flag. After the explanation of David Prothero I am sure that this flag, if not a mistake of Rudi Longueville, was not official.
Jaume Ollé, 2 Oct 2000