Last modified: 2011-06-10 by rob raeside
Keywords: malta | historical |
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According to Barraclough and Crampton 1981 [bcr81], p. 129:
White and red have always been used as the colours of Malta, and after the island was acquired by the British, the Knights of St John having been expelled by Napoleon in 1798, ensign badges in various combinations of these colours, with and without the Maltese Cross, were in use. The most recent form was a plain vertical shield of white and red. To this was added by Royal Warrant on 28 December 1943, 'a representation of the George Cross proper'. (...) At first the George Cross was contained in a small blue canton, but when Malta became independent on 21 September 1964 the blue background was removed. This island had already transformed its blue ensign badge into a flag for local use in 1947, and this flag, without the blue background to the George Cross, continued in use on independence. (...)Flaggenbuch 1939 shows Malta having both red and blue colonial ensigns, the badge being a shield per pale argent and gules i.e. vertically white and red, with a relief border in yellow, all on a white circle which disappears in the case of the blue ensign. The shape of the shield is completely curvilinear, as was frequent in English and French heraldry in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. I wonder how was the shield modified in 1943 to include the canton with the George Cross. The shape of the 1939 version does not lend itself easily to this, so perhaps the shield was changed to a more common shape.
None of the badges appeared officially on a Red Ensign. Unofficially, second and third probably did.
David Prothero, 7 February 2000
I got a strange old Malta flag for my collection a few days ago. The flag is of the 1943-1964 model, that is with the George Cross medal on a blue canton. What makes it strange though, is the cross itself because in the centre it bears an eight rayed sun (Taiwan/Namibia style). I am inclined to think that this is just an invention of the manufacturer the flag is probably made in Norway because he did not know the exact details. Or is there any official justification for the sun?
Jan Oskar Engene, 13 April 1997