On Friday 23rd October, the first day of Ascension’s Bicentenary celebrations, a flag raising ceremony took place in the capital, Georgetown. The raising of the Union flag recreated the actions of the first British Navy settlers who came ashore on 22 October 1815, planted the flag and in so doing claimed the Island in the name of King George III.
The ceremony was supported by the Band of the Royal Marines and featured speeches by the Island’s Administrator, Marc Holland and visiting military chaplain, Padre Nick Cook.
The Administrator encouraged those present to consider the conditions endured by those who first lived on Ascension:
“This weekend we will be saluting the ingenuity and determination of those early settlers to build shelter, find water and grow food. How they tamed the harsh volcanic landscape and made the inhospitable home. How they had to cope with shortages, disease and the psychological impact of isolation. And how Ascension officially became a ship and was run under naval discipline. We will pay tribute to those who dedicated their lives and sometimes paid the ultimate sacrifice to establish the basics of life on this island.
But this weekend is more than just a celebration of our military heritage, important though it is. In celebrating 200 years of British sovereignty, we will pay tribute to all the people who have made this island into what it is today.”
Photo credits: Crown Copyright 2015/LPHOT Caroline Davies RN