The Salvation Army flag, like all flags has significance. While it is true that the flag
represents The Salvation Army, the symbolism is deeper than that and actually portrays that we are a
mainstream Christian Church accepting the doctrine of the Trinity of God.
God the Father is represented by the blue border which symbolises the Holiness and Purity of God.
God the Son is represented by the red, symbolising the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
God the Holy Spirit is represented by the yellow star, symbolising the fire of the Holy Spirit.
The phrase "Blood and Fire" also represents the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross (blood),
and the infilling of the Holy Spirit (fire).
The Salvation Army shield was first introduced in the 1900's. Its origin
is thought to have been in Canada. While advertisements for shield brooches, badges and other items
appeared in the War Cry as early as 1914, the earliest reference to the official use of the present
shield appeared in the 1918 Fall edition of the Canadian War Cry.
The evolution of the shield took a giant step forward during World War I when British Salvationists serving
at the front, behind the lines and in military camps, began using shields to identify their 'Naval and
Military League' rest huts. Photos of the day show crude, hand-made shields of varying designs, most
with dark handlettered wording on white backgrounds. However, one July, 1917, report from the front does
refer to "a large shield on enamelled sheet iron with a blood red background".
Given that the shield had for years been subject to the vagaries of artists and signwriters who were
entrusted with the task of reproducing the symbol on posters, canteen sign-boards, letterheads,
advertising pamphlets, etc., Army leaders decided to standardize the design. At a conference held
in New York, and attended by a Canadian representative, the design, as shown on the left, was accepted
as "standard" for North America. The design chosen, incidentally, was the one officially in use in Canada.
Subsequently, over time, the shield became associated with social services, the Red Shield Appeal and
Christmas assistance efforts.
The shield, clearly displaying the Army's name thereby declaring The Salvation Army's mission of salvation,
may also be seen to represent a protective shield borne by the Army on behalf of the disadvantaged
of our society.
Shortly after The Salvation Army's War Congress (1878) when the name changed from
"The Christian Mission" to "The Salvation Army", Captain William H. Ebdon submitted the design for the
crest that graphically illustrated the Army's fundamental doctrines.
Central in Captain Ebdon's design was the cross of Jesus Christ. An entwined letter "S" represented
The Salvation Army and its commitment to the Gospel. Crossed swords evidenced the Movement's
determination to fight against sin and social injustice under the guidance of the truth of the Gospel
repsresented by seven 'shots' in the surround.
The surround itself, the Sun of Righteousness, representing the fire and light of the Holy Spirit.
Also in the surround, the words "Blood and Fire" made further direct reference to the shed blood of
Jesus Christ and the refining fire of the Holy Spirit. Cradling the device was a ribbon bearing
the words "The Salvation Army".
The only subsequent change made to Captain Ebdon's crest was the addition of a crown symbolizing
the eternal reward for faithful Christian soldiers.
The earliest recorded use of the crest appears on stationary by Bramwell Booth in 1878.