- BLACK LIBERATION FLAG (or COLOURS)
- See Garvey colours.
Marcus Garveys Flag 1917 (fotw)
- The description, either oral or written, of an armorial banner, set of
armorial bearings or a shield from those arms, given according to heraldic
conventions conventions (see also ‘armorial bearings’,
‘banner of arms’,
Please note however, that the term and its use should
apply only to heraldic symbolism, and be employed in vexillology solely in that
- (v) The act of describing heraldic symbolism as defined in ‘blazon’.
- BLESSING OF A FLAG
- See ‘consecration’.
- BLEU CELESTE
- The heraldic term for the colour sky-blue - see
shades of tincture in
- BLOODY FLAG (or COLOURS)
- 1) See ‘flag of defiance’.
- 2) See ‘red flag 2)’.
- BLUE ENSIGN
- 1) In British maritime usage, the ensign worn (undefaced) by those merchant
vessels commanded by an officer of the Royal Naval Reserve – but see 2),
the note below and
‘red ensign 1)’,
‘white ensign 1)’ and
‘yacht ensign’ under
2) In English then British RN usage, now obsolete (and largely but not exclusively -
dependent upon the rank of the admiral in command), the junior of three alternative
(undefaced) ensigns carried by a warship until 1864 see
red ensign 2) and
white ensign 2).
3) Generically, any canton flag (either plain or defaced) with a blue field – particularly
(but not exclusively) if flown at sea – a British-style ensign (see also
‘canton flag 1)’,
‘red ensign 3)’).
From left: Blue ensign c1630 – 1707, England (fotw);
Reserve Ensign, UK (fotw);
Reserve Ensign, Sri Lanka (fotw);
Government Ensign, Mauritius (fotw)
Please note with regard to 1) that the blue ensign is also used either plain or
defaced as the ensign of many British yacht clubs, as an archivexillum (or template) for the
flags of Government departments and – with few exceptions of British Overseas Territories
Ensign of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, UK (Graham Bartram)
- BLUE PETER
- A blue flag with a white panel in the centre, flown alone whilst in harbour to signify
that all persons should report on board as the vessel is ready to proceed to sea - now also
Papa in the International Code of Signals, but in use (with the same or similar meaning)
since the 1750’s (see also
‘International Code of Signal Flags’,
‘preparatory flag’ and
Signal Flag P (Papa) (CS)
- BLUE STAR BANNER
- See ‘service flag 3)’.
Blue Star Banner/Service Flag, US
- BOAT ENSIGN
- 1) A small ensign (usually storm ensign size) used on ship's boats for identification
when more than one nation's naval vessels are present in an anchorage (see also
'storm flag 2)').
- 2) See ‘boat flag 1)’ below.
Please note with regards to 1) that the ship's boats of naval vessels
would not normally wear ensigns when operating in an anchorage if no foreign ships
- BOAT FLAG
- 1) In US naval usage, now obsolete, a small national ensign of modified design (with 13
stars rather than the number on the normal U.S. ensign) formerly flown on small
boats and submarines.
- 2) In US army usage, that version of a positional or rank flag intended to be flown on boats,
or sometimes in front of that officer's headquarters (see also
'positional flag' and
- 3) In British RN usage, that version of a flag of command which was originally
for use only in boats, but from which the current versions of those flags are derived
(see also ‘ball(s) of difference’ and the notes below, ‘barge flag’,
'flag of command',
'broad pennant' and
Late 19th Early 20th Century, US (fotw); Boat Flags of a Rear Admiral and Vice-Admiral
of the White c1707-1864, plus Boat/Command Flag of a Full Admiral
(of the White only until 1864) from c1707 1898, UK (Martin Grieve)
a) With regard to 3) these flags came to be flown aboard major vessels from c1872 onwards because the abandonment of an auxiliary sailing rig (due to the increased efficiency of marine engines and the weight of armour plate) meant that there was only one mast available from which to display a flag of command, and the previous system of varying mastheads to denote seniority, therefore, no longer viable.
b) The current versions of UK command flags date from regulations of 1898. These regulations reduced the width of the red cross, increased the size of the balls and changed their position on the flag of a rear-admiral (as illustrated below).
Boat Flags then command Flags of a Rear-Admiral and a Vice Admiral 1864 1898, UK (Martin Grieve): Flag of a Rear-Admiral according to current regulations (fotw)
- See ‘ogival’.
Flag Ascribed to Ibernia, 14th Century (fotw)
- BOB (or BOB-FLY)
- In UK usage, the term for a small flag or pennant flown from the topmast truck
of a sailing barge, bearing the owner’s logo and/or colours, and used to indicate
wind direction – a bob-fly or Kent vane-fly
(see also ‘colours 6)’,
‘house flag 1)’, ‘logo’,
‘main’, ‘truck 1)’,
‘vane 1)’ and ‘vane 2)’).
Bob of the Thames Barge Sailing Trust, UK (CS)
- The term for a (comparatively) wide band surrounding a field of a
different colour, which may consist of one colour - either plain or have
charges placed upon it - or may be made up of two or more colours in a variety
of designs – a bordure (see also ‘double-tressure’,
‘plain 2)’, ‘tressure’ and
From left: National Flag of Maldives (fotw); Flag of King Joγo II, Portugal 1485 - 1495 (fotw);
National Flag of Grenada (fotw); Royal Standard of
Bulgaria 1908–44 (fotw)
Please note - not to be confused with a fimbriation
which is invariably plain and whose sole purpose is to divide one colour from
another (see also ‘charge’,
‘rule of tincture’).
- adj) The act of having placed a border around a flag – see ‘border’.
- (v) A practice, now largely obsolete, of edging a flag in a different colour
than the field, either for decorative purposes or to prevent fraying.
- BORDER OF TRIANGLES
- See wolfteeth 1).
Presidential Standard of Hungary (Zoltan Horvath)
- The heraldic term for a border (see also
‘cadency, mark of’).
Flag and Arms of Oprisavci, Croatia (Željko Heimer); Armorial Banner of
Alfonso III 1248, Portugal (fotw)
- See ‘embowed’.
Flag of Kyjov, Czech Republic (fotw)
- BOW FLAG
- See ‘jack’ (also ‘bow pennant’ below).
Naval Jack of Argentina (fotw)
- BOW PENNANT
- A small, usually triangular flag flown at the bow of pleasure craft, often facetious,
but sometimes a personal flag (see also
‘personal flag 3)’).