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British Solomon Islands Protectorate 1947-1956 (Solomon Islands)

Last modified: 2013-12-14 by ian macdonald
Keywords: british solomon islands protectorate | blue ensign | disc (white) | turtle | triangles |
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[British Solomon Islands Protectorate 1947-1956] image by Martin Grieve, 2 September 2005

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The badge was replaced in 1947 when arms were granted. Gresham Carr 1953 says:

It consists of a red shield charged with a turtle standing erect in natural colours; the chief or upper portion of the shield is paly-pily argent and sable, i.e. it has white isosceles triangles, eight in number, on a black background. It is placed on a white circle on the Blue Ensign with the name of the protectorate in black lettering beneath the shield.
It was again replaced in 1956.
David Prothero, 23 September 2000

Gresham Carr describes the turtle as being in natural colours, but BR20 (1955) and Kannik depict the creature in black and white. David Prothero informs me that the badge was based on the Arms granted 10 March 1947, and replaced by another based on the Arms granted 24 September 1956.
Martin Grieve, 2 September 2005

Tom Russell's book, "I have the honour to be: a memoir of a career covering fifty-two years of service for British overseas territories." (Spennymoor, UK: The Memoir Club, 2003) carries a comment about the use of the flag. Mr. Russell was a District Commissioner of Malaita in 1954. He mentions the BSIP ensign used in a judicial proceeding on the island of Small Malaita in that year:
"It was decided that the Judicial Commissioner should come across [from Honaira on Guadacanal] to hold one important case in Small Malaita...A meeting house was requisitioned as a court building. The bench was created out of a large packing-crate covered by a Protectorate flag." (p.92)
Jerry Noeske, 5 December 2005

Detail of Badge

[British Solomon Islands Protectorate 1947-1956 badge] image by Martin Grieve, 2 September 2005

British Resident

[British Solomon Islands Protectorate 1947-1956 Resident Commissioner] image by Martin Grieve, 2 September 2005

According to the 'World Statesmen' website at, these Islands were governed by Resident Commissioners from 1943-1953, and from 1953-1973 by High Commissioners for the Western Pacific. I would presume then, that the Union Flag depicted here was in use from
1947-1953, and then replaced by the WPHC flag?
Martin Grieve, 2 September 2005

The Western Pacific High Commissioner moved from Fiji to the Solomon Islands (Honiara) in 1952, giving up his other appointment as Governor of Fiji, but assuming a new additional appointment as Resident Commissioner of the Solomon Islands. Resident Commissioners were in principle not entitled to defaced Union Jacks, only a defaced Blue Ensign. Since WPHC replaced a Resident Commissioner, it seems likely that the turtle badge was never used to deface a Union Jack.
David Prothero, 3 September 2005

The general rule, to which there were exceptions, was that the senior British official in a Protectorate, such as the Solomon Islands, was the Resident Commissioner. In a Protected State, such as Brunei, he was the British Resident. The first flag of the Solomon Islands is misleading. It had letters BR, but was the flag of the Resident Commissioner.
David Prothero, 7 September 2005