FLAGS OF RHODESIA

Flags and Symbols of Rhodesia 1890-1980

by

Richard Allport

"If you take my flag, you take everything... I should be a fool to give up my flag and my traditions, and I should be a knave because I should be despised by my own countrymen and distrusted by yours."

Remark by Cecil John Rhodes during an interview by the German editor of the "Free State Express", quoted in Le Sueur's "Cecil Rhodes", p. 41.

CD-Rom edition published 1999 by:

Allport Books
Hoofdweg 110
9695 AN Bellingwolde
Netherlands

First printed edition, SAVA, 1996
ISBN:0-620-21797-9
© Richard Allport

Lion and tusk

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

A number of individuals and institutes have been of great assistance in the compilation of this account of Rhodesian Flags and Colours. In particular I would like to express my gratitude to the following people for providing useful information and in many cases photographs or drawings of the flags concerned:

 BRUCE BERRY of the SOUTHERN AFRICAN VEXILLOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
LIEUTENANT COLONEL IAN BUTTENSHAW (RLI flags)
CAPTAIN SEAN WYATT (RLI flags)
LIEUTENANT COLONEL RON REID-DALY (Selous Scouts flag and Standard)
ROBIN MOORE (Crippled Eagles flag)
MAJOR PETER COOPER (RLI Training Troop flag)
MICHAEL FAUL and WILLIAM CRAMPTON of THE FLAG INSTITUTE, UK
IAN DIXON (ills. of national flags)
CHRIS WHITEHEAD (Guard Force flag & photos)
WING COMMANDER PETER COOKE (Air Force flags & pennants)
JOHN HOPKINS -(RAR flags)
GERRY HAYTER (Air Force flags)
EUGENE POMEROY (SAS flags & photos)
JURGEN RIMANN (Photos various Rhodesian flags)
JAMES HUGGINS (Car flag of Sir Godfrey Huggins)
ALEX BUNDOCK (IntAf flags)
LT.COL. MTOMBENI (retíd) of the GWERU MILITARY MUSEUM, Zimbabwe
R.M. MALES of the HERALDRY & GENEALOGY SOCIETY OF ZIMBABWE

 An extra word of thanks goes to both MIKE KAPLAN, the militaria dealer in South Africa, and BRUCE BERRY, both of whom were instrumental in assisting the author to obtain many of the original Rhodesian and South African flags in the author's collection!

 Finally, my thanks again to BRUCE BERRY for checking through the manuscript for errors and making suggestions to improve the text.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
AUTHOR'S PREFACE
INTRODUCTION
The Earliest Flags
SECTION I
THE NATIONAL FLAGS
1a. Union Flag/BSAC Flag
1b. Northern Rhodesia
1c. Nyasaland
2. Southern Rhodesia
3. Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
4. Rhodesia
5. Zimbabwe-Rhodesia
6. Zimbabwe
GOVERNMENT FLAGS
BSAC Administrator
Governor's Flag
Governor-General's Flag
President's Flag
Prime Minister's Flag
CIVIC FLAGS AND HERALDRY
Monomotapa
Cecil Rhodes
Salisbury
Bulawayo
Fort Victoria
SECTION II
FLAGS OF THE RHODESIAN SECURITY FORCES
Brief History of the Rhodesian Army
1. FLAGS OF THE RHODESIAN ARMY
The Military Flag Tradition
Colours
Military Flags and Ensigns
The Rhodesian Army Flag
Rhodesian Army Car Flags & Pennants
Chief of Staff
Geneneral Officer Commanding (GOC)
Rhodesian Light Infantry
RLI Battalion Flag
RLI Commando Flags
"1" Commando
"2" Commando
"3" Commando
The Troop Flags of "3" Commando
11 Troop Flag
12 Troop Flag
13 Troop Flag
14 Troop Flag
Support Commando
Base Group
Training Troop
Regimental Colour of the RLI
The RLI Trooper Statue
Rhodesian African Rifles
A Company 1RAR
B Company 1RAR
C Company 1RAR
D Company 1RAR
Support Company 1RAR
HQ Company 1RAR
RAR Band
RAR Colours
Southern Rhodesia Volunteers
Rhodesia Regiment
Rhodesian SAS
Selous Scouts
Selous Scouts Standard
Grey's Scouts
Rhodesian Military Police
Pfumo reVanhu
IntAf
The Medical Corps
Corps of Signals
Army Services Corps
Rhodesian Engineers
School of Infantry
Reinforcement Holding Unit/Rhodesian Defence Regiment
Guard Force
Corps of Chaplains
The "Crippled Eagles"
Renamo
2. FLAGS OF THE RHODESIAN AIR FORCE
The Air Force Ensign
Rhodesian Air Force Colours
Air Force Car Flags & Pennants
Chief of Air Staff Pennant
Chief of Air Staff Car and Aircraft Flag
Air Officerís Pennant
Air Officerís Car and Aircraft Flag
Station Commanderís Car Flag
Group Captainís Pennant
Wing Commanderís Pennant
Squadron Leaderís Pennant
3. FLAGS OF THE BSAP
The Police Flag
BSAP Pennants
The Colours that never were...?
Prison Service Flag
SECTION III
Appendix 1
Flags on Postage Stamps
Appendix 2
List of Flag-Raisers on Pioneers' Day
Appendix 3
Presentation of Standard to No. 3 Squadron, RhAF, April 1975.
Appendix 4
Chart of Rhodesian Flags
Appendix 5
Rhodesia We'll Ever Cherish Thee (National Song)
Rhodesian National Anthem
Sources
Bibliography

AUTHOR'S PREFACE

The present volume cannot be regarded as a definitive history of flags in Rhodesia, since it has proven difficult to cover every flag used in the country, mainly as a result of a lack of reliable information on the design and colours of some of the lesser-known flags. In the case of the military unit flags especially, official documentation is either non-existent or unavailable and in almost every case the information on these flags has been supplied by former members of the Rhodesian Armed Forces, in many cases accompanied by photographs or drawings. Some of the illustrations are based on the national and military flags in the author's private collection. A major difficulty in the case of some flags for which only a brief description or rough drawing was available, was to correctly ascertain the colour shades and proportions of these flags. The majority of Rhodesian flags were made in the proportions 1:2, but there were some exceptions, especially among the military unit flags, and these have been drawn based on the information available.

Some of the official military flags used during the 1970s with the lion and tusk badge above the unit emblem may have had similar flags with a Royal Crown above the unit emblem prior to 1970 (when all symbols of allegiance to the British Monarch were removed), but these have been mentioned and illustrated only where I know for a fact that such flags actually existed.

The book does, nevertheless, give an account of all the major flags used in Rhodesia, and contains a great deal of information that has not previously been published. As such it will hopefully provide a useful basis for further research on individual flags or groups of flags.

Readers who can provide additional information on Rhodesian flags, in particular those which have not been covered in this book, are invited to contact the author with details and, if possible, illustrations or photographs of the flags concerned.

Richard Allport
Hoofdweg 110
9695 AN Bellingwolde
Netherlands

 E-mail: Richard Allport
Web site: Rhodesia and South Africa: Military History


INTRODUCTION

The Earliest Flags

Although the Union Flag was the first official flag of the territory of Rhodesia, it was not the first to fly on Rhodesian soil. Early Portuguese explorers had brought their own flags along with them as they explored the Zambezi and at least one example of the Transvaal "Vierkleur"* is recorded as having found its way to Lobengula's kraal at Bulawayo. Piet Grobler, one of the Afrikaner Voortrekkers, had made many trading and hunting trips to Matabeleland in the early 1880s, and on one such trip in 1885 he and his family camped near Lobengula's kraal. Grobler's wife, Elsie, recorded the details of their trip and described Lobengula visiting the Grobler encampment clad only in a Transvaal flag, wearing it around his body like a sash, his only other item of clothing being a pair of grey woollen socks!1

 One of the first Union Flags to appear in Rhodesia was the flag which Frank Johnson took with him when he joined the syndicate formed to explore the territory for gold. In his memoirs he wrote the following, referring to 24 May, 1887:

"This was the Queen's birthday, but I dared not fly our Union Jack, as the Matabeles believed that a flag prevented rain from falling!"2
In his memoirs Johnson includes photos of the raising of the Union Flag at Fort Charter and at Salisbury.

 During the British-Portuguese conflicts regarding the establishing of exact boundaries between their respective territories, Portuguese flags were flown at a number of kraals in the Northern and Eastern parts of Mashonaland. These had been distributed, along with guns, to various chiefs by the famous Portuguese explorer and adventurer, Colonel Paiva d'Andrade.

 At the kraal of Umtasa, paramount chief of Manicaland, a patrol of the BSAC Police under Captain Patrick Forbes arrived to settle the dispute about sovereignty over Manicaland. The chief, according to the Portuguese, had ceded Manicaland to them some twenty years before, and only a month earlier this had been ratified by a British-Portuguese agreement. On 14 September, 1890, however, Umtasa had granted all mineral rights in his territory to the British South Africa Company, so confusion reigned supreme.

 Rhodes had decided to occupy the territory to forestall any further Portuguese claims and Captain Forbes and his men arrived as the Portuguese were absorbed in the ceremony of raising their flag. Colonel d'Andrade was in the middle of an impassioned speech when Forbes placed him and two other Portuguese leaders under arrest. The flag was cut down by a trooper and d'Andrade burst into tears at the sight of this cavalier treatment of his flag. For a while it seemed as if the Portuguese would fight, but the arrest of their leader deterred them.

 In order to safeguard the BSA Company's interests in Manicaland Forbes' next step was to attack and occupy the Portuguese fort at Macequece. After three days of marching they found that the fort which had been considered such a threat was only occupied by one corporal and a private soldier! Again the Portuguese flag was hauled down to make way for the BSAC flag.3

 The Portuguese flag was given to Cecil Rhodes who had it displayed on the wall of his library at Groote Schuur, together with the battered Union flag that had been carried by Jameson into Matabeleland in 1893. In another room of the house, known as the "billiard room", two more flags were displayed - a small Union Flag with the Moslem crescent and star which had been carried by General Gordon on the Nile, and a large Union flag which had accompanied E.S. Grogan on his walking trip from Cape Town to Cairo, a feat that had taken 2 years.
 

Cecil John Rhodes
Cecil John Rhodes

When Rhodes died on 26 March, 1902, it was this large Union flag that was used to cover the coffin, along with the Chartered Company's flag and a British white Ensign.4 The Chartered Company's flag was buried with the coffin, along with a number of wreaths.5

 The Portuguese flag which had been captured at Macequece returned to Portugal just before World War II, when General Hertzog, Prime Minister and living at Groote Schuur at that time, presented it as a gift to President Carmona of Portugal during his visit to South Africa.

 The BSAC flag which had been raised in its place was later presented to the National Museum in Bulawayo by J.W.M. Bellasis, grandson of the man who had raised it at the fort.

 Cecil Rhodes himself had designed a flag to symbolise his dream of a united Africa under British rule, using a combination of the Egyptian flag (white crescent and star on a red field) and the symbol of the Cape (a gold anchor). Linking the two in the centre was the Union flag, symbolising British rulefrom the Cape to Cairo. Rhodesí dream was never realised, of course, and the flag was never officially used. It is now preserved at Groote Schuur in South Africa.6
 

Rhodes' flag
Rhodes' flag


Notes

* Vierkleur = Afrikaans for "Four Colour", the popular name given to the green, red, white and blue flag of the Transvaal.
1. Gustav Preller - "Lobengula" pp 51-52.
2. Frank Johnson - "Great Days" pp 41.
3. Gustav Preller - "Lobengula" pp 96-97, and T.V. Bulpin - "To the Banks of the Zambezi" pp 286.
4. Le Sueur - "Cecil Rhodes" pp 329.
5. Le Sueur - "Cecil Rhodes" pp 257-260, and "Rhodesiana" no. 27, pp 85.
6. Although the flag was designed by Rhodes, the actual idea of extending British rule from the Cape to Cairo originated from Harry Johnston, then employed in the British consular service, and an old Africa hand. Rhodes came into contact with him in London in 1889 and adopted his grand vision.

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