colony of aden

Colony of Aden, 1937-1963

If you look closely you can see a flag within a flag: a tiny red banner flying from the stern of the dhow on the badge. Flags like this one were commonly flown in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea, especially after standard designs were laid out in the General Maritime Treaty of 1820. The modern flags of Bahrain, Qatar, and Dubai are all derived from this pattern.

Now I know what you’re thinking: If the folks in Aden already had a popular local flag design, why didn’t the British just use that instead of designing an ensign? Well, that’s colonialism for you.

(designer: George Kruger Gray)

Arab guerrillas who ambushed and killed two British soldiers were reported to be in the village of Danaba, a border hamlet of mud and stone huts. Danaba was warned by leaflet that it would be bombed. Promised the R.A.F. officer commanding the operation: “The fearsome sight will frighten the Arabs … a terrific explosion will echo up the hills. The tribesmen will be somewhere watching the show.” On Feb. 11 four Shackleton bombers dropped 93 500-lb. bombs on Danaba, and Venom fighter pilots followed up, pouring 72 rockets into the village; for best effect the operation was spaced over six hours.
—  Time Magazine article about the Aden Emergency, titled ’The Big Show'