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Salvation Army

Last modified: 2013-11-12 by rob raeside
Keywords: christian | salvation army | blood and fire | star: 8 points |
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[Salvation Army] by James Dignan, 20 October 1997

See also:

External links:


Description of the flag

I think that the flag is the same worldwide. I'm not sure about the exact dimensions, but I have made a gif which is as close to correct as I can get it from simply seeing the flag flying.
James Dignan, 20 October 1997

[Salvation Army] by Nelson L. Román, 1 November 2003

I saw, in Puerto Rico, this flag which is of the Salvation Army. I drew it as I saw on TV and as I found it in this site. The site explains the meaning of the flag, shield and crest.
Nelson L. Román, 1 November 2003

I have to say that I think Nelson's colours are better than James's, though I think that Nelson's star is too 'pointy'. Having said that, a quick Google search gave community.webshots.com, where the star also looks rather pointy. James says "I think that the flag is the same worldwide." I would have gone along with that, but I have found a page at www.salvationarmy.ca - the Canada (and Bermuda) site of the S.A. - where "the colours" are defined as "The Salvation Army flag, a tricolour of yellow, red and blue." Can our Canadian (or Bermudan) members comment? Or are they (mis)using 'tricolour' to mean 'a flag which contains three colours' without the normal implication of three equal stripes? Then again, a page at www1.salvationarmy.org shows a flag which is recognisably the same style but not the same detailed design. So I wonder whether the flag really is standardised world-wide. Googling on "Salvation Army" AND flag OR colours gives more hits than I have had time to follow up, but they include the S.A.'s Australian site which shows a flag much as I am used to seeing it in the U.K.
(www.salvationarmy.org.au).
André Coutanche, 3 November 2003

I drive by the US headquarters of the Salvation Army in Alexandria on my way to work every day and the flag there has (apparently) the same red as in the stripes on the US flag. The blue, however, is a shade lighter than on the S&S, which flies alongside (US flag to its own right, before someone asks).
Joe McMillan, 4 November 2003

Several years ago I commented that the Salvation Army flag was purple, rather than deep red. This was greeted with some skepticism, as can be seen on this page. I figured that, for reasons best known to themselves, New Zealand's Salvation Army must use a different colour flag to other units worldwide. Finally, my driving past the local fortress coincided with a rare day on which they had their flag up, so I am finally able to present a photo of the flag as flown locally, to show that the colour is indeed purple, not red. This is not an artefact of it being a faded flag - all the Salvation Army flags I have ever seen here have been this colour.
James Dignan, 9 December 2005

The Flag of The Salvation Army flies in over 100 countries. The colours are extremely symbolic:
Red for the blood of Christ
Yellow for the fire of the Holy Spirit
Blue for the purity of God the Father
Thus the flag is symbolic of the triune God
Anthony Cotterill, 27 June 2000

The earlier version showing a sun can be seen on this site. This shows the first version (with sun) from September 1878, the star having been adopted in June 1882.
Jan Mertens, 22 May 2004

At the website of the SA International Heritage Centre there is a photo of the flag of the SA headquarters in London. The design is the usual one for SA flags plus the writing "The Salvation Army [above the star] International Headquarters [below]" in white on the crimson field.
Martin Karner, 29 December 2005

Here is another photograph of the flag, with tassels, depicting an indoor usage, where the Princess Royal is speaking in front of it at the opening of the International Headquarters in Queen Victoria Street, London EC4P in November 2004: http://www.christiantoday.com/files/min/min_20041113_1113pic3.jpg
Colin Dobson, 1 January 2006


Language variants

I write as an officer of The Salvation Army. The flag of the Salvation Army is basically the same throughout the world, except that:

  1. The shades of the colors are not defined, and there are wide variations from country to country. The fabric also has something to do with this. The old British flags were wool, and the dyes produced deep, dark colors. The modern flags are brighter, with lighter colors.
  2. The Star almost always is eight-pointed. In former times it was actually a sun, but was changed in order not to offend Parsees in India, who worshipped the sun. (There is a strong Salvation Army presence in India to this day.) The star in European countries tends to be blunter than the one produced in the USA, and in Europe it usually has a red inside border along the edge of the star.
  3. The motto, "Blood and Fire" (atoning Blood of Christ, empowering Fire of the Holy Spirit) is written in the language of the country in which it is used. In one location in Switzerland, where there are four national languages, the motto was omitted altogether.
  4. The length/width ratio is not firmly established, nor is the width of the blue border, and this leads to many visual variants.

In spite of this, the Salvationists throughout the world recognize the emblem instantly, and it is a source of encouragement for our faith and a reminder of our international brotherhood. An interesting aside: The first Salvation Army flag taken to the USA from London had a small USA flag on the canton. SA flags used in the Western USA once had a 5-pointed star, as a US Marshall's badge.
C. Patrick Granat, Major, 20 May 2004

Russian

[Russian Salvation Army] located by Mikhail Revnivtsev

On http://dragnev.chat.ru/army/simbols.htm (in Russian) is a flag of the Salvation Army in Russia. The inscription in Russian "KROV` I OGON`" translates into the English language as " BLOOD AND FIRE ".
Mikhail Revnivtsev, 4 April 2005

German (Heilsarmee)

[German Salvation Army] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 December 2010

During the ecumenical church convention (Ökumenischer Kirchentag) in Berlin 2003, I saw a Salvation Army flag, German version. It had a normal red (neither particularly dark nor purple), the inscription was "BLUT & FEUER" (blood & fire).
Marcus Schmöger, 8 January 2006

The Salvation Army in Germany has the status of a "free church". Its subdivisions are Korps, i.e. local group, and Division, i.e. a regional group. The flags are of the same type like nearly everywhere. It is a flag of a dark purple red colour having a blue bordure. In its centre is a yellow 8-point star cotized red and yellow. In its centre is a red inscription shaped like a circle: "BLUT & FEUER".
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 December 2010

[German Salvation Army] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 December 2010

The subdivisions have embowed white inscriptions "DIE HEILSARMEE" above and the name of the subdivision below the star. In case of Hamburg this inscription is :KORPS HAMBURG".
Source: I spotted this flag on 15 October 2010 in Hamburg-St.Pauli Heilsarmee centre.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 25 December 2010

Greek, Danish, Spanish

And here are some photos of Salvation Army flags (BLOOD & FIRE) in various languages:
Greek: http://www.salvationarmy.gr/1stFlag2.jpg
Danish: http://www.sawiki.net/images/9/92/Blod_Og_Ild.jpg
Spanish: http://www.salvationarmy.org/saw/imagenes/noticias/peru_trujillo.jpg
Aleksandar Nemet, 3 February 2010

Polish

[Polish Salvation Army] image located by Jan Mertens, 9 May 2010

The Salvation Army in Germany (incidentally, also responsible for Lithuania) has established a local branch in Warsaw, Poland (text in German): http://www.heilsarmee.de/nhq/public/index.php?id=657. Some local flags are shown but clearly visible is only the star detail, next to the map of Poland (top of page) “Krew i Ogien”. However this star is pointy whereas the other photos show the more regular one.
Jan Mertens, 9 May 2010

Japanese

[Japanese Salvation Army] image located by Jan Mertens, 11 May 2010

A direct link to the photo is at http://heilsarmee.ch/swi%5Cwww_SWI_de.nsf/assets/Gruss.jpg and page context at http://www.heilsarmee.ch/swi/www_SWI_de.nsf/vw-search/EDD646A105C7DDCE80256F2E003CA5F6?opendocument.
Jan Mertens, 11 May 2010

[Japanese Salvation Army] image located by Jonathan Dixon, 11 May 2010

That [photograph above] could certainly be the same design. Interestingly enough, we didn't quite know what it said - down the middle of the star is the name "Salvation Army" 救世軍, with the kanji for "blood" (血) and "fire" (火) towards the upper left/hoist and lower right/fly respectively.
Jonathan Dixon
, 11 May 2010

Swedish

Wikipedia shows the Swedish version of the Salvation Army flag: http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fil:Fr%C3%A4lsningsarm%C3%A9ns_fana,_svensk.png, "BLOD & ELD". Interesting variants may be seen here (first picture is clickable): http://www.fralsningsarmen.se/p3/kar/resources.nsf/res/ingang_lillabommen/$file/Lilla%20Bommen%20005.jpg
http://bootheum.se/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/wkFatmomakke60-300x299.jpg
Incidentally, Sweden as a Salvation Army district includes Latvia; I have not yet found a clear or relevant local flag picture.
Jan Mertens, 12 May 2010

Dutch

[Dutch Salvation Army] image located by Jan Mertens, 20 May 2010

The Dutch Salvation Army flag can be seen at:
http://www.endenburg.nl/images/leger.jpg (General use, on building)
http://www.freewebs.com/legerdesheils-emmen/leger%20des%20heils%20vlag%20emmen%202%20(Small).jpg (Yellow words above star: name in Dutch, below star: indicates local branch, Emmen.)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8146216@N03/3001826337
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hans_buizer/3001819679/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hans_buizer/2349785955/ (Same, local branch Rotterdam-Oost; third one, outdoor use.)
http://www.deweekkrant.nl/images/library/pictures/4c/21/3a/a1/2_07twvl013ka3f.jpg (Same, local branch Nijverdal.)
http://www.legerdesheils-veenendaal.nl/foto/openlucht.jpg (No branch mentioned, only the Army's name.)
Jan Mertens, 20 May 2010

For the Rotterdam-Oost flag, it doesn't seem to say "Korps Rotterdam.Oost". Maybe "Rotterdam Korps Oost"? And on the reverse the text is in reverse.
The last link above is a general flag, used by Korps Veenendaal, apparently. We see the reverse, and all text on it is in reverse, both the separate text and the motto on the star. It's the only version in their images, as far as I can see, except for: http://www.legerdesheils-veenendaal.nl/images/ldh_int.gif.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 3 July 2010

This Dutch page shows the Emmen corps flag again, but adds some relevant comments: http://www.legerdesheils-emmen.com/okt1967officieeleenkorps.htm.

"Flag used on all official occasions (on service, introduction of members, marriages); also funerals or cremations "flag with purple ribbon". The flag should never be struck or half-masted, as God's involvement with us is eternal. At the death of founder William Booth the flag on the HQ in London remained fully hoisted."
Jan Mertens, 1 May 2011

Italian

Here is a link to an Italian Salvation Army flag (tricolour ribbon): http://www.esercitodellasalvezza.org/images/bandieralvento.gif. "SANGUE E FUOCO" not really made out on flag, but used as such in texts.
Jan Mertens, 20 May 2010

Spanish

[Spanish Salvation Army] image located by Jan Martens, 20 May 2010

Spanish text can be seen on an image on the Italian Wikipedia page: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esercito_della_Salvezza
Jan Mertens, 20 May 2010

Czech

[Czech Salvation Army] image located by Jan Mertens, 7 June 2010

Link to photo showing the Czech version of the Salvation Army flag (local branch, obviously): http://romove.radio.cz/pictures/ctk03/armada_spasy_prerov1.jpg.
"KREV A OHEŇ" .
Jan Mertens

Belgium

Links to a few photos:
http://www.legerdesheils.be/Pages/qui_photosA.php?image=7&Langue=fed11a7d1a845c51a8579d9e7b80d62f%C2%A0
http://www.legerdesheils.be/Pages/qui_photosA.php?image=20&Langue=fed11a7d1a845c51a8579d9e7b80d62f%C2%A0

Classic flag image with the Army name above the star: LEGER DES HEILS (Dutch) and ARMEE DU SALUT (French) respectively, and local branch name below. No close-up found, yet, of a star: for the moment we may assume that for the motto the same language is used. However... some tiny photos seem to indicate that bilingual flags exist and if so these are surely used in the Brussels area. What then about the motto?
Jan Mertens, 30 June 2010

Lithuanian

[Lithuanian Salvation Army]

Links to pages showing the flag:
http://www.heilsarmee.de/nhq/public/index.php?id=710
http://www.heilsarmee.de/nhq/public/index.php?id=997
http://www.heilsarmee.de/nhq/public/index.php?id=997#2010-12a
Motto... if I read it well... "Kraujas ir Ugnis". Above the star, what I think is “Išganymo Armija” while the name below the star
surely indicates Klaipeda.
Jan Mertens, 1 May 2011


1885 version

 An article in the New York Times of 20 March 1885 writing about a "War Congress of the Salvation Army", writes about Salvation Army flags: "The flags have a red centre and black border. In one corner is the Stars and Stripes, and in the centre is a yellow eight-pointed star."

The other differences with the design we show are a black border and the lack of text in the star. Those could be the result of a bad sighting caused by the snow fall the Army marched through. We'd need more sightings to confirm or refute, though.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 11 October 2013