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Symbols

The Salvation Army has a number of different symbols which makes it recognizable to the general public. These include the Crest, the Red Shield, the uniform and the Army Flag.

 

Today the shield is The Salvation Army’s highly recognisable logo, used across the world."

Crest

The Salvation Army has its own crest.

The orginal design was produced by Captain William Ebdon in 1878, and appeared on the Salvation Army letterhead by 1879. It is similar to the crest still in use today.

Each part of the crest has a different meaning:

The sun in the centre represents the light and fire of the Holy Spirit.
The letter ‘S’ behind the cross stands for Salvation.
The two swords represent the ‘war of salvation’.
The seven shots at the bottom of the circle represent the truth of the gospel. 
The crown at the top of the crest, represents the crown of glory, which Salvationists believe God will give to all his ‘faithful soldiers’.

Flag

From its earliest days, the Salvation Army has used flags.

In Heathen England in 1880, George Scott-Railton wrote; "The use of flags has done more than anyone could have imagined to bind all our soldiers together and to encourage and develop the spirit of enterprise and resolution."

During the 1880s, many local corps  were using flags of various kinds in their processions. General Booth saw the need for the movement to have one standard flag design. Early flags had a ‘sun’ in their centre, but from 1882 the standard flag has had a yellow star in its centre. This star represents the Holy Spirit. The present star is also eight-pointed; the number has been varied from time to time but no significance has been attached to this.

The crimson colour of the flag represents atonement, and the blue colour God’s chosen emblem of purity. The motto ‘Blood and Fire’ stands for the blood of Christ and the fire of the Holy Spirit. 

Shield

As well as having a crest, the Salvation Army also uses a shield symbol.  The shield represents the ‘fight’ of life on a ‘spiritual battlefield’ and that God is a shield to protect and save us.  Metal shields were worn as badges by Salvationists from the early 1880s. Today the shield is the Salvation Army’s highly recognisable logo, used across the world.

Uniform

By 1878, when the Christian Mission became the Salvation Army, military terms and symbols had become standard across the movement. Church halls were now ‘corps’ and flags, badges, brass bands and uniforms were all used – together with a rank system for officers (indicated by uniform trimmings).
 

The Salvation Army uniform did not became standardised until about 1880, when a navy blue serge uniform was introduced for both men and women. Men wore a high neck tunic with a stiff collar over a scarlet jersey. Their headgear was a cap with a red band.  Women wore long navy skirts and high neck tunics with white lace-edge collars. They also wore bonnets, which had been introduced by Catherine Booth.
 

Due to economic necessity (officers and soldiers have always had to purchase their own uniforms, and in 1890 a uniform would cost on average, three week’s salary) many Salvationists wore their uniforms on any occasion where formal clothes would be expected.
 

As Army work developed overseas, different uniforms were developed to adapt to local culture and climate. Variations included white, grey and beige uniforms – as well as sari uniforms with a Salvation Army sash.
 

The uniform, which has changed and developed greatly over the years, is still worn today by Salvation Army soldiers and officers.