Author Topic: The Geneva Cross  (Read 2247 times)

Offline 303Gunner

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The Geneva Cross
« on: December 10, 2013, 11:15:38 PM »
When we think of an Military Ambulance, or a Military Hospital, Casevec Helicopter or a Hospital Ship, the foremost identifying mark we recognise is the "Red Cross". This is actually a clearly defined international sign that was originally agreed upon in the 1889 Geneva Convention to signify non-combatant, and non-partisan, humanitarian and medical services. All signatory nations agreed to observe the neutrality of any members of any Armed Force displaying the Geneva Cross, and in return declared that any unit or body displaying the Geneva Cross would not actively or passively engage in warlike actions. To readily identify units with such protection, a clearly marked symbol needs to be displayed. The agreed symbol was initially formed by reversing the flag of Switzerland to create a red cross on a white background. Like any official international symbol, an agreed "Standard" to describe that symbol was required.

The Standard adopted to describe the Geneva Cross is "A red cross formed by five red squares arranged horizontally and vertically placed on a white background of either circular or square shape. The circle will have a diameter of five times the measured dimensions of the red squares, while the square background will have dimensions of five by five times the dimensions of the red squares".

Confused? If the "red squares" are 12" square, forming a cross 3'x3', then the white circle will be 5' diameter, or a white square 5'x5'. If the "squares" are 18", the Cross will be 4'6"x4'6" on a white circle/square of 7'6"x7'6". The dimensions will always remain proportional.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, pictured below are examples of a "Good" Geneva Cross (although the cross is a little large for the circle), and a "Bad" Geneva Cross.

Hopefully this will be of assistance to someone repainting an Ambulance, or any other medical equipment.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 11:29:55 PM by 303Gunner »

Offline Diana Alan

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Re: The Geneva Cross
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2013, 12:41:18 AM »
The only problem these days is that the ICRC has trademarked the Geneva Cross as described above and will prosecute people for using it.  It is sometimes easier to amend the squares to slightly rectangles and bypass the ICRC trademark.
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Offline 303Gunner

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Re: The Geneva Cross
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2013, 02:06:50 AM »
That's correct, and the reason why First Aid boxes have a green cross. We have come to associate the cross symbol with medical assistance, but the red version belongs to the ICRC and it's various national societies.

The International Committee of the Red Cross was formed in 1864 to provide protection and recognition to volunteer providers of medical aid on the battlefield. The delegates (as the volunteers were known) given a free rein to render impartial humanitarian aid free from interference from either side. The ICRC is strictly an international humanitarian organisation with no political, religeous or military role.

However, it was found that to have that assistance available, it was necessary to telegraph your tactical intentions before a campaign, thus divulging critical information to your enemy. The 1889 Convention allowed signatory nations to provide their own military medical units the protection granted to the ICRC, but recognising that they form part of the armed forces, that they must not participate in any warlike activity in order to receive that protection. It should be pointed that the Military use of the Geneva Cross is quite different to the functions of the Red Cross Organisation.

Offline Phoenix

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Re: The Geneva Cross
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2013, 08:40:53 AM »
Well you learn something new every day.  I will have to measure the crosses on my ambulance to see if they conform to those size standards.  How fascinating!
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