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Frederick Gordon Brownell } (8 March 1940 – 10 May 2019) was a South African
herald (around 1380) wearing a tabard of the Coat of arms of Bavaria, around 1510. . File:Pursuivant tabard.jpg">upCollege_of_Arms_ A_herald,_or_a_herald_of_arms,_is_an_Officer_of_Arms">officer_of_arms,_ranking_between_pursuivant_and_King_o ...

herald
,
vexillologist Vexillology () is the study of the history, symbolism and usage of flags or, by extension, any interest in flags in general.Smith, Whitney. ''Flags Through the Ages and Across the World'' New York: McGraw-Hill, 1975. Print. The word is a synthes ...
, and
genealogist Genealogy (from el, γενεαλογία ' "the making of a pedigree") is the study of families, family history, and the tracing of their lineages. Genealogists use oral interviews, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obta ...
. He designed the flags and
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 59 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital cities: e ...

South Africa
.


Family and early life

Brownell was born in
Bethlehem Bethlehem (; ar, بيت لحم , "House of Meat"; he, בֵּית לֶחֶם ', , "House of Bread"; ; la, Bethleem; initially named after Canaanite fertility god Lehem) is a city in the central West Bank, Palestine, about south of Jerusalem. ...
, in what was then the
Orange Free State The Orange Free State ( nl, Oranje Vrijstaat, af, Oranje-Vrystaat, abbreviated as OVS) was an independent Boer sovereign republic under British suzerainty in Southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century, which ceased to exist afte ...
province in South Africa on 8 March 1940. He matriculated from St. Andrew's School in
Bloemfontein Bloemfontein, ( ; , "fountain of flowers") also known as Bloem, is the capital city of the Free State Province of South Africa; and, as the judicial capital of the nation, one of South Africa's three national capitals (the other two being Cape ...
in 1957. He undertook his voluntary military service at the Air Force Gymnasium with 1 Motorboat Squadron (Air-Sea rescue) before going to
Rhodes University Rhodes University is a public research university located in Makhanda (Grahamstown) in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It is one of four universities in the province. Established in 1904, Rhodes University is the province's oldest un ...
in
Grahamstown Makhanda, commonly known as Grahamstown, is a town of about 70,000 people in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. It is situated about northeast of Gqeberha and southwest of East London. Makhanda is the largest town in the Makana Local Mu ...
to read for a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Social Anthropology, which he obtained in 1961. He subsequently completed an Honours degree in history at the
University of South Africa The University of South Africa (UNISA), known colloquially as Unisa, is the largest university system in South Africa by enrollment. It attracts a third of all higher education students in South Africa. Through various colleges and affiliates, UN ...
in 1965 and was awarded a Master of Arts degree (with distinction) from the same university in 1977 for a dissertation entitled "British Immigration to South Africa 1946 – 1970". He married Christine de Villiers, whom he met whilst at
Rhodes University Rhodes University is a public research university located in Makhanda (Grahamstown) in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It is one of four universities in the province. Established in 1904, Rhodes University is the province's oldest un ...
, on 29 September 1962 in
Pretoria Pretoria (; zu, ePitoli) is one of South Africa’s three capital cities, serving as the seat of the executive branch of government, and as the host to all foreign embassies to South Africa. (Cape Town is the legislative capital and Bloemfontei ...
and together they had three daughters.


Career

Brownell joined the Department of Immigration on 2 January 1962 as an Administrative Officer. His responsibilities included a tour of duty as Assistant Attache (Immigration) and Consul to the South African Embassy in London between 1965 and 1969. He then joined the Department of National Education / later Arts, Culture, Science and Technology as Assistant State Herald in the
Bureau of Heraldry The Bureau of Heraldry is the South African heraldic authority, established in Pretoria on 1 June 1963. It is headed by a State Herald (known unofficially as the National Herald since 2004) and its functions are to register arms, badges, flags ...
on 1 August 1977. He was promoted to State Herald on 1 May 1982 and retired from that position in 2002. Brownell designed many coats of arms, badges and flags, including the and the
flag of Namibia The flag of Namibia was adopted on 21 March 1990 upon independence from South Africa. Design The National Symbols Sub-Committee received 870 entries for the national flag. Six designs were short-listed; this was reduced to three, those of three N ...

flag of Namibia
in 1990. In 1993/1994, he designed the current
South African flag The flag of South Africa was designed in March 1994 and adopted on 27 April 1994, at the beginning of South Africa's 1994 general election, to replace the flag that had been used since 1928. The flag has horizontal bands of red (on the top) a ...

South African flag
, with a three-armed converging cross of the sort called a
pall Pall may refer to: * Pall (funeral), a cloth used to cover a coffin * Pall (heraldry), a Y-shaped heraldic charge * Pall (liturgy), a piece of stiffened linen used to cover the chalice at the Eucharist * Pall Corporation, a global business * Pall., ...
in heraldry, to symbolise the convergence of different cultures into one for the future South Africa. He later designed arms for the new provincial governments in South Africa. He was awarded the
Order for Meritorious Service The Order for Meritorious Service is a South African National Order that consisted of two classes, in gold and silver, and was awarded to deserving South African citizens. The order was discontinued on 2 December 2002.Nelson Mandela Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (; ; 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's firs ...

Nelson Mandela
in 1999 for his role in the design of the
South African flag The flag of South Africa was designed in March 1994 and adopted on 27 April 1994, at the beginning of South Africa's 1994 general election, to replace the flag that had been used since 1928. The flag has horizontal bands of red (on the top) a ...
and the Vexillon Award for excellence in the promotion of vexillology in 1995 and 2015, the only recipient to have won it twice. He also published many articles and several books on heraldry and flags. He was also involved in the field of honours and awards.


Final years and death

Shortly after his retirement Brownell and his wife moved to the Newlands Park retirement home, south east of
Pretoria Pretoria (; zu, ePitoli) is one of South Africa’s three capital cities, serving as the seat of the executive branch of government, and as the host to all foreign embassies to South Africa. (Cape Town is the legislative capital and Bloemfontei ...
. He continued to be an active member of the Southern African Vexillological Association and completed the SAVA Journal series on South African Military Colours (1664 to 26 April 1994). Furthermore, in September 2015 he was awarded the degree of Doctorate of Philosophy (D.Phil) in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria for a dissertation entitled ''Convergence and Unification: The National Flag of South Africa (1994) in Historical Perspective'', based on the process of, and his role in, the designing the current
South African flag The flag of South Africa was designed in March 1994 and adopted on 27 April 1994, at the beginning of South Africa's 1994 general election, to replace the flag that had been used since 1928. The flag has horizontal bands of red (on the top) a ...
. In early 2019, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He died at his home surrounded by his family on 10 May 2019.


Awards and Commendations

Brownell was the recipient of the following: * Order for Meritorious Service, Order for Meritorious Service (OMSS), Class II: Silver * Southern Cross Medal (1975) (SM) and bar * Military Merit Medal (South Africa), Military Merit Medal (MMM) * General Service Medal (South Africa), General Service Medal * Unitas Medal * John Chard Decoration, John Chard Decoration (JCD) * Republic of Venda Police Star of Merit * Republic of Venda Prison's Service Establishment Medal * Knight of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (KStJ) * Cross of Merit of Robert Caluwe (instituted by the Heraldic Societies in the Baltic region for services to international heraldry) * Gold Commemorative Medallion of the South West Africa Territory Force * William Harvey Medal of the South African Blood Transfusion Service * ''Archives News'' Literary Prize (1990) * Vexillon Award of the International Federation of Vexillological Associations (1995 and 2015) * Fellow of the International Federation of Vexillological Associations (FF) * Fiat Lux Award by the family of St. Andrew's School (
Bloemfontein Bloemfontein, ( ; , "fountain of flowers") also known as Bloem, is the capital city of the Free State Province of South Africa; and, as the judicial capital of the nation, one of South Africa's three national capitals (the other two being Cape ...
) * South African National Defence Force Emblem for Voluntary Service * Honorary Life Member of the Southern African Vexillological Association * Laureate of the International Federation of Vexillological Associations (LF)


Publications

Brownell's works include:


Books

* * ''Nasionale en Provinsiale Simbole en Flora- en Fauna-embleme van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika'', C. van Rensburg Publications. 1993 * ''National symbols of the Republic of South Africa'', Chris van Rensburg Publications, 1995 * * * * ''Consolidated index to the South African Armorial'' (1989, 1990, 1992, 1997, 2001) * ''Index to local and regional authorities which have registered arms, badges and seals with the Bureau of Heraldry'' (1990, 1991, 1997) * ''Alphabetical index to South African Defence Force heraldic representations registered with the Bureau of Heraldry'' (1991, 1997, 2000) * ''Names, Uniforms and Badges – a computerised record of the registrations under the Protection of Names, Uniforms and Badges Act, 1935'', Vols. 1 – 4 (2000)


Journal articles and reports

* ''Report on the Transformation of National Orders in South Africa'', co-authored with Dr Y Muthien and General L Moloi, 1998 * ''South African Military Colours – 1664 to 26 April 1994 Part II Vol.1 – Military Colours of the Union Defence Forces and of the South African Defence Force : 1 July 1912 to 30 May 1961'', co-authored with Prof H H Smith, SAVA Journal SJ: 8/99, December 1999 * ''South African Military Colours – 1664 to 26 April 1994 Part II Vol.2 – Military Colours of the Union Defence Forces and of the South African Defence Force : 1 July 1912 to 30 May 1961 : Colours devised for the Commandos of the South African Defence Forces prior to World War II'', co-authored with Prof H H Smith, SAVA Journal SJ:9, July 2005 * ''South African Military Colours – 1664 to 26 April 1994 Part III Vol. 1 – Military Colours of the South African Defence Force 31 May 1961 to 26 April 1994 : The National Colour and Colours devised for the South African Army'', co-authored with Prof H H Smith, SAVA Journal SJ:10, June 2011 * ''South African Military Colours – 1664 to 26 April 1994 Part III Vol. 2 – Military Colours of the South African Defence Force 31 May 1961 to 26 April 1994 : Colours devised for the South African Air Force, Navy, Medical Service and the South African Police'', co-authored with Prof H H Smith, SAVA Journal SJ:11, December 2017 * ''The Union Jack over Southern and Central Africa, 1795 – 1994'', SAVA Journal SJ: 3/94, October 1994 * ''Some Southern African Flags, 1949 – 1991'', SAVA Journal SJ: 1/92, April 1992 * ''Symbolism in the coats of arms of Special Schools for the Cerebral Palsied'', in Education and Culture, II, 2, June 1978 * ''The Bureau of Heraldry, its establishment, functions and procedures'', in Education and Culture, V, I, March/June 1982 * ''Heraldry in South Africa'', in Optima, Vol. 32, 4, December 1984 (subsequently reprinted in The New Zealand Armiger, 18, December 1990) * ''Finnish Influence on South African Heraldic Design'', in the Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences, Helsinki, 1984 * ''Historic Flags of South Africa'', in the Report of the 11th International Congress of Vexillology, Madrid, 1985 * ''Heraldry in Natal'', in Natalia, 17, December 1987 * ''New Southern African Flags'', in the Proceedings of the 12th International Congress of Vexillology, 1987, published in The Flag Bulletin, XVIII, 1 – 4/130, Jan – Aug 1990 * ''The Evolution of the Coat of Arms and Flags of South West Africa and Namibia'', published in 8 parts in Archives News, XXXII, 11 May 1990 – XXXIII, 6, December 1990 * ''Kruger Gray's bookplate for South Africa House, London'', in Africana Society of Pretoria, Yearbook 8, 1990 * ''Symbols for Namibia'', in The Flag Bulletin, XXXI, 1 – 2/145, Jan – April 1992 * ''Heraldic adaptation in the Southern African context'', in Genealogica & Heraldica, the Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences, Uppsala, 1992 * ''The flags of the Diggers' Republic'', in Fahnen Flags Drapeaux, the Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Vexillology, Zurich, 1993 * ''Some Bookplates in the Brenthurst Library'', in Brenthurst Archives, I, 1, 1994 * ''The design of the new South African national flag'', SABS Bulletin, XIII, 3, May/June 1994 (subsequently reprinted in the Journal of the Dental Association of South Africa, Vol. 49, II, November 1994) * ''Creating an interim flag for South Africa'', in The Flag Bulletin, XXXIII, 3/158, May – June 1994 (co-authored with B B Berry, D de Waal and T Stylianides) * ''The evolution of a distinctive South African heraldic idiom, 1963–1996'', in Genealogica & Heraldica, the Proceedings of the 22nd International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences, Ottawa, 1996 * ''The Cartoonist's view of the South African National Flag'', in Flags in Southern Africa and the World, the Proceedings of the 17th International Congress of Vexillology, Cape Town, 1997 * ''The Seal of the Republic of South Africa – a little oversight?'', in Arma (New Series), Vol. 4, 1–2, December 1998 * ''Flags of the Uniformed and other services in the former African 'Homelands' of South Africa'', in Flags from Sea to Sea, the Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Vexillology, Victoria, British Columbia, 1999


See also

*
Bureau of Heraldry The Bureau of Heraldry is the South African heraldic authority, established in Pretoria on 1 June 1963. It is headed by a State Herald (known unofficially as the National Herald since 2004) and its functions are to register arms, badges, flags ...
, South Africa * International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences * International Congress of Vexillology * Southern African Vexillological Association


References


Sources

* ''Arma'' Vol 7 No 1 (2002) * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Brownell, Frederick 1940 births 2019 deaths Flag designers Officers of arms Rhodes University alumni South African people of English descent South African heraldists South African heraldry White South African people