This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Dictionary of Vexillology: J (Jack - Jolly Roger)

Last modified: 2017-09-16 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors



On this page:


JACK
A flag, originally (and sometimes still) much smaller than the ensign, flown from a staff at the bow of a ship, usually when that ship is berthed, at anchor or moored to a buoy, occasionally when underway but always when dressed overall, and which in current usage may fall into one of the three main categories listed below  – a bow flag (see also ‘colonial jack’, ‘distinguishing jack’, ‘dress ship’, ‘jack of honour’, ‘jack staff’, ‘privateer jack’ and ‘union jack’) See supplemental note:

Civil Jack
Flown at the bow of a merchant ship (see also ‘civil ensign’ under ‘ensign’).

[Civil Jack] [Civil Jack] [Civil Jack]
From left: Civil Jack of the Bahamas (fotw); Civil Jacks of The Netherlands - unofficial (CS & Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg)

Please note, however, there are only two countries who prescribe a distinctive jack for general use by civilian vessels – the UK (see ‘pilot jack’) and the Bahamas as illustrated below. Sweden, for example, specifies regional flags, whilst the flags of home ports are sometimes officially used and the regulations of some shipping lines call for a house or other flag with this, upon occasion, being expressly permitted under national legislation.

Scania
Regional Flag of Scania, Sweden (fotw)

Government Service Jack
Generally, but not exclusively, limited to the UK and former British colonies, and flown at the bow by civilian-manned Government vessels – but see ‘colonial jack 1)’ with its following note (also ‘government ensign’ under ‘ensign’ and the notes below).

Royal Fleet Auxillary Royal Maritime Auxillary Northern Lighthouse Board
Jacks of The Royal Fleet Auxiliary, The Royal Maritime Auxiliary and Northern Lighthouse Board, UK (Martin Grieve)

Notes
a)
In UK usage all Government service vessels wearing defaced blue ensigns, including those used by the governing authorities of dependent territories, are legally entitled to fly a blue jack with an appropriate badge in the fly, however, (as far as can be discovered) only the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the Royal Maritime Auxiliary and the Northern Lighthouse Board actually do so at present.
b) In Germany and Austria, Government (as well as civilian) vessels often fly the flag of the relevant state/province, and that in some commonwealth countries the appropriate departmental flag is specified as a jack for government vessels.

Naval Jack
Flown at the bow of a warship, often the appropriate national flag (or a variation of it), occasionally the same as the naval ensign, or sometimes a completely different design - the jack (see also ‘masthead pennant 1)’, ‘naval ensign’ under ‘ensign’, ‘jack staff’ and ‘suit of flags’).

[Russian naval jack] [Brasil naval jack] [Norway naval jack] [Italy naval jack] [Romania naval jack]
From left: Naval Jacks of Russia (fotw); Brazil (fotw); Norway (fotw); Italy (fotw) and Romania (fotw)


JACK OF HONOUR (or HONOR)
In French naval usage, a jack originally flown in place of le tricolore by ships that had served in the Free French Navy (the FNFL), and now flown by those ships bearing the same name (see also ‘cravat 1)’ and its following note, ‘fanion 3)’, ‘jack’, ‘lanyard 1)’, ‘lanyard pennant’ and ‘tricolour 3)’).

[Jack of Honour - FNFL Jack]
The FNFL Jack, France (fotw)


JACK PIN
See ‘belaying pin’.

[Jack pin]
Jack/Belaying Pins (Wikipedia)


JACK STAFF (or JACKSTAFF)
The short staff in the bows of a ship upon which the ‘jack’ is hoisted (see also ‘ensign staff’, ‘jack’ and ‘staff 1)’).

[Jack staff]
HMS Iron Duke 1912 – 1946, UK (Wiki)


JACK, THE
In UK usage and some others, an increasingly obsolete term for the naval jack - see ‘naval jack’ under ‘jack’ and ‘His Majesty’s Jack’.

Italian jack 1879  Union Jack 1606  Portuguese jack 1830
The Jack/Naval Jack 1879 – 1946, Italy (fotw); The Jack/Union Jack 1606 – 1801, England/UK (CS); The Jack/Naval Jack 1830 – 1911, Portugal (fotw)


JAGIELLONIAN
In East European usage a term often used to describe historic or traditional symbols, and taken from the dynasty which ruled Poland, Lithuania, Hungary, and Bohemia from the 14th century until the 16th century – for example the Jagiellonian cross or Jagiellonian eagle.

State Arms of Lithuania
Arms of Szamotuły, Poland (fotw)


JAGIELLONIAN CROSS
See ‘cross of Lorraine’ (also ‘jagiellonian’ above).

Jagiellonian cross
Arms of Małogoszcz, Poland (fotw)


JAGIELLONIAN EAGLE
See ‘jagiellonian’.

Jagiellonian eagle
Arms of Miechów, Poland (fotw)


JAMES UNION
An unofficial name for the 1606 pattern British union flag (see also ‘British flag’, ‘His Majesty's jack’, ‘interlaced’ ‘conjoined’ and ‘union jack’).

Union Flag 1601
Union Flag 1601 – 1801, UK (CS)

Please note that this term appears to have been a 19th Century invention, and that there is no firm evidence of it being used during flag’s lifetime (1606 – 1801).


JEHOVAH SUN
The term – and a direct translation of the German Jehovasonne – which may be used to describe a sun in splendour, surmounted by a cartouche bearing the name of God in Hebrew lettering - a charge sometimes to be seen on (exclusively Protestant) German military flags of the 16th and 17th Centuries (see also ‘cartouche’, ‘sun-in-splendour’ and ‘surmounted by’).

Jehovah Sun
Flag of an Infantry Company c1675, Electorate of Saxony (Klaus-Michael Schneider)


JELLOPED (or JOWLAPPED)
The heraldic term used to describe the wattles and comb of a domestic fowl when they of a different tincture from its body – jowlapped - but see ‘wattle(d) 2)’ (also ‘armed 2)’, ‘attired’ ‘beaked’, ‘gorged’, ‘langued’, ‘membered’ and ‘tincture’).

Líaná, Czech Republic Líaná, Czech Republic Šentjernej, Slovenia Šentjernej, Slovenia Tavannes, Switzerland
Flag and Arms of Líšná, Czech Republic (fotw & ICH); Flag and Arms of Šentjernej, Slovenia (fotw); Flag of Tavannes, Switzerland (fotw)


JERUSALEM CROSS
A symbol of the Medieval Kingdom of Jerusalem - in heraldry a cross-potent cantonee - see ‘cross-potent cantonée’, plus ‘cross-cantonée’ and its following note (also ‘cross potent’).

Jerusalem Cross  Jerusalem Cross
Arms and Flag of the Kingdom of Jerusalem 1162 – 1191 (Wikipedia and fotw)


JIGGLING JONNY
See ‘tugh 1)’.

[Jingling Jonny]
Source: National Music Museum, used with permission


JOINANT
In heraldry see ‘conjoined’.

Joinant  Joinant
Arms and Flag of Marnardal, Norway (fotw)


JOLLY ROGER
1) Generically, any black (or occasionally red) flag often (but not invariably) bearing white symbols and associated with piracy, but usually shown in its modern form as a flag with black field and stylised white skull above two white crossed bones - a skull and cross-bones (see also ‘privateer ensign’).
2) A flag of the latter description given above, but defaced by a number of varying symbols dependent upon the type of action and used unofficially by the submarine service of the British Royal Navy and some others to signify that the boat flying it had successfully engaged an enemy – but see ‘battle flag 3)’ (also ‘deface’).

[pirate flags - Jolly Roger]  Bartholomew Roberts pirate flag Edward Low UK submarine service
From left: Flag as described above (fotw); Flag of Bartholomew Roberts 17th C (fotw); Flag of Edward Lowe Early 18th C (fotw); Submarine Service, UK (CS).

Notes
a)
With regard to 1), vessels of the US Navy often fly a Jolly Roger at the yardarm during line-crossing ceremonies (as the signal that King Neptune is aboard), and note also that of all known pirates only Blackbeard is thought to have actually used this design. (see also ‘yardarm’).
b) With regard to 2), it should be emphasised that these symbols were (and are) entirely unofficial, and that a several variations are known.


Introduction | Table of Contents | Index of Terms | Previous Page | Next Page