Last modified: 2017-09-16 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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Flag of Cornwall, UK (fotw); Flag of Tal-Pietŕ, Malta (fotw); Arms of Adelsheim, Germany (fotw)
Marcus Garvey’s Flag 1917 (fotw)
Flag and Arms of Lokve, Croatia (fotw)
Arms of Omišalj, Croatia (fotw)); Arms of Gornja Vrba, Croatia (fotw); Arms of Barilović, Croatia (fotw); Arms of Donja Dubrava, Croatia (fotw); Arms of Krapina-Zagorje, Croatia (fotw)
The shields illustrated above may be blazoned as follows:
a) Gules, a tower embattled Argent issuant from a base Azure and in chief a mullet Or;
b) Parti per pale Gules and Argent overall a willow tree eradicated of the second and first counterchanged;
c) Gules a bend Argent between two swords in bend of the same hilted and pommelled Or;
d) Gules an oak tree eradicated Or in base a cannon Sable;
e) Party per pale and per band embattled Gules and Or in chief three mullets of the second and first counterchanged.
It must also be noted that the term and its use should apply only to heraldic symbolism, and be employed in vexillology solely in that context.
Arms of Skrad, Croatia (fotw)
Please note that the above arms would be listed in blazoning as Quarterly Gules and Argent.
From left: Blue ensign c1630 – 1707, England (fotw); Reserve Ensign, UK (fotw); Reserve Ensign, Sri Lanka (fotw); Government Ensign, Mauritius (fotw)
a) With regard to 1), 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 (see also ‘armorial ensign 2)’, ‘colonial flags’, ‘defaced’ and ‘warrant’).
b) Regarding 2), before 1864 an Admiral’s seniority was outwardly displayed by the colour of his command flag and by the ensigns flown by any ships under his command - the junior colour being blue, the next white and the senior red - however, in 1864 this colour system was abolished, and thereafter all flag officers flew a white command flag from the appropriate masthead where applicable, and all Royal Naval ships the white ensign (see also ‘distinction of colour’ and ‘flag flag of command 1)’).
c) Furthermore, the ensigns worn within a fleet could be arbitrarily changed (if the tactical situation required it) by order of the Flag Officer in overall command of that fleet irrespective of the grade held by any of his subordinate admirals.
Ensign of the Department for Transport, UK (fotw); Ensign of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, UK (Graham Bartram); Flag of Montserrat (fotw)
Beach Quality/Blue Flag, European (fotw)
Blue Jack of Sierra Leone 1889 – 1914 (CS and fotw); Blue Jack of the Royal Maritime Auxiliary, UK; Jack of the Northern Lighthouse Board, UK (fotw)
Signal Flag P (Papa) (CS)
Blue Star Banner/Service Flag, US
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 are present.
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)
Flag Ascribed to Ibernia, 14th Century (fotw)
Bob of the Thames Barge Sailing Trust, UK (CS)
From left: National Flag of Maldives (fotw); Flag of King Joăo 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’, ‘fimbriation’, ‘panel’ and ‘rule of tincture’).
Prime Minister’s Flag, Portugal (fotw)
Flag of Prince Edward Island, Canada (fotw); Flag of Stanbridge, Canada (fotw)
Presidentiral Standard of Hungary (fotw); War Ensign of Hungary (fotw)
Arms and Flag of Almodôvar, Portugal (fotw); Flag and Arms of Oprisavci, Croatia (Željko Heimer)
Flag and Arms of Kyjov, Czech Republic (fotw & Wikipedia)
Naval Jack of Argentina (fotw)
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