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British Ceylon

Last modified: 2004-08-07 by
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[Ceylon Colonial Badge] by António Martins See also:

Description of the Badge

The round shaped badge depicts a brown elephant facing hoist on green ground in front of a pinkish Buddhist temple on a dark blue background. The badge has a yellow-fimbriated red ring bearing 16 yellow four pointed stars and 16 yellow small balls
Nozomi Kariyasu, 16 May 2000

The building in the badge is called a Dagoba; a tope or dome shaped monumental structure containing relics of Bhudda or of some Bhuddist saint.
Glen Hodgins, 18 May 2000

In a dispatch dated 17 August 1870, the Governor Sir Hercules Robinson sent a drawing of the badge to the Colonial Office and wrote,

The design which has been prepared by Mr. Smithers of the Public Works Department appears to my Executive Council to be more suitable than the arms of the colony as represented in the Public Seal of the Island of which an impression is annexed. But if the latter device shall be preferred there will be no objection on the part of this Government to its adoption.
(CO 54/457)

The seal was a particularly non-descript coastal scene on which the Island was called, not Ceylon, but Taprobane. Usually the Colonial Office were insistent that the flag badges should be based upon the seal as laid down in the Order in Council of 14 September 1869, but in this case agreed with the governor.
David Prothero, 18 May 2000

The nearest I have come to being able to trace the origin of this badge is the Dutch (VOC) arms for Ceylon, (which is an elephant standing between 2 rows of coconut/palm trees, with three bundles of cinnamon in the foreground). I far as I can tell, it was these Dutch arms which set the precedent of linking the elephant and palm tree with Ceylon in European heraldry. Afterwards, circa 1860, the Ceylon Government Railway (CGR) adopted an elephant, palm tree, and dagoba (i.e., Buddhist religious dome-shaped edifice) as the main charge in their arms, which are still employed by the CGR today. From these CGR arms, I put it to you that it was only a short mental hop to the badge
Glen Hodgins, 4 June 2000

Government Ensign

[Government Ensign] by António Martins

The badge was used in the fly of the Blue Ensign flown by government owned or chartered vessels from c1875 to 1948
David Prothero, 18 May 2000

Governor's Flag

[Governor's Flag] by António Martins

The badge wsa used surrounded by a garland in the centre of the Union Jack flown from the masthead by the governor when afloat from c1875 to 1948, and additionally, from Government House (sunrise to sunset) from 1941 to 1948
David Prothero, 18 May 2000

Colonial police flag

[Colonial Police] by António Martins

The Colonial Police in Ceylon used a Blue Ensign, plain except for the word POLICE in white letters in the fly. It was unauthorised and its use was discontinued in about 1930.
Glen Hodgins, 18 May 2000