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Dictionary of Vexillology: B (Braced - Brunatre)
Last modified: 2017-11-11 by rob raeside
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- BRACED (or BRASED)
- In heraldry see ‘interlaced’.
Flag of the Panceltic Movement (fotw)
- In heraldry see ‘barrulet’.
- BRAG FLAGS
- In largely US usage, the colloquial term for a collection of local flags,
often (but not invariably) unofficial flags, that has been amassed by the owners
of pleasure vessels to indicate the number of ports visited – a type of
- BRANCH OF SERVICE FLAG
- 1) Generically, one of those flags pertaining to a particular branch within the armed services
- an air force flag, army flag, navy flag, flag of the marine corps or similar
(see also ‘armed services flag’).
- 2) Specifically in US military usage, as above but the term may also include the flags of each
specialization within a particular branch – for example the flag of the Engineering Corps.
From left: Air Force Flag, RSA (fotw);
Army Flag, UK (fotw); Navy Flag, US (fotw); Flag of the
Royal Marines, UK (fotw); Flag of the
Engineering Corps, US (fotw)
- 1) Generically see ‘width’.
- 2) Specifically in now largely obsolete British Royal Navy usage, a term
for indicating the width of flags (see also ‘bunting 2’).
Ensign of 20 Breadths x 11 yards (10.10m), English 1687 (fotw);
Ensign of 23 Breadths x 34 feet (10.40m), UK 1822 (fotw)
a) With regard to 2) this term describes one half of the width of bunting formerly employed in manufacture, with the width of such flags being expressed as a multiple of the number of breadths used.
b) The width of a breadth was recorded
as being 11” (27.94 cm) in 1687, but had shrunk to its present size of 9” (22.84
cm) by the end of the 18th Century, with ½ a yard (18” or 45.72 cm) of fabric being used per breath employed thus giving a ratio of 11:18 in 1687 and 9:18 (or 1:2) by 1800.
- BREAK A FLAG (BREAK OUT A FLAG or BREAKING)
- (v) To unfurl a flag that has been hoisted folded and rolled up in such a
manner that a sharp tug at the halyard will cause it to fly free (see also
Please note the above is often used to mark the beginning of an event or the arrival of a VIP.
- In heraldry see ‘embattled’.
Flag and Arms of San Martín de la Vega, Spain (fotw &
Wikipedia); Flag of Saint-Charles-de-Bellechasse. Canada (Ivan Sache)
- BRITISH-STYLE ENSIGN
- See ‘blue ensign 2)’,
‘red ensign 2)’ and
‘white ensign 2)’
Government Ensign of Malaysia (fotw): Civil Ensign of New Zealand (fotw); Naval Ensign of India 1950 - 2001 (fotw)
- BRITISH COLOUR CODES (BRITISH COLOUR COUNCIL REFERENCE CODE or BCC)
- A now largely obsolete standard numeral colour code for cloth and flags established by Britain,
and first published in 1934 (see also ‘Pantone Matching System’).
- BRITISH (or BRITAIN) FLAG
- The original name for the 1606 pattern British union flag – the Britain flag or flag of Britain - but see
‘His Majesty’s Jack’ (also
‘James Union’ and
Union Flag 1601 – 1801, UK (CS)
Please note, evidence suggests that the terms
British and Britain flag or flag of Britain ceased in official use after 1639.
- BROAD COMMAND PENNANT
- In US naval usage now increasingly (if not entirely) obsolete, a pennant that
is flown at the main masthead in place of the commission (or
masthead) pennant to indicate the presence on board of an officer commanding a force, group or squadron
of vessels (or carrier air wing), and who has authority over any officer flying a burgee command pennant,
but who has not reached flag rank – see
‘burgee command pennant’ (also
‘broad pennant 1)’ with its following note,
‘flag officer 1)’ and
Broad Command Pennant, US (sea flags)
Please note however, that the US practice of displacing the commission (or masthead) pennant by the
burgee or the broad command pennants differs from general naval practice where the various command
pennants (excepting the broad pennant) are usually (but not invariably) flown in addition and subordinate
to the masthead pennant.
- BROAD PENNANT (or PENDANT)
- 1) Generically, a shorter and broader form of the masthead pennant, the
fly of which is cut into a swallowtail – a triangular or tapered swallowtail.
- 2) Specifically in British RN and some other usage, a pennant as in 1)
above that is flown at the main masthead in place of the commissioning (or
masthead) pennant to indicate the presence on board of an officer with the
rank of Commodore (see also
‘broad command pennant’,
‘burgee command pennant’,
‘flag of command’ and
‘masthead pennant 1)’).
- 3) In civil maritime usage, as 1) above (and often patterned after the
relevant club burgee), a broad pennant is sometimes flown by the commodore and
a yacht or boating club - an officer’s, flag officer or yacht officer's broad pennant
- but see ‘officer’s flags’ and
‘deface’ and ).
- 4) As 1) above, but sometimes with rounded points (or a lanceolate fly)
and flown from the main masthead to mark the presence aboard ship of a head of
state or a member of an royal/imperial family - an imperial, royal, or king’s broad
pennant and others (see also ‘lanceolate’
and ‘royal masthead pennant’).
Flag of Ohio, US (fotw);
Commodore’s Broad Pennant, UK (fotw); Commodore’s Broad Pennant, Norway (fotw);
Yacht Club Commodore’s Broad Pennant, Finland (fotw)
King’s Broad Pennant, Thailand (fotw)
Please note, that in the US Navy and some others the rank of commodore
- to which the broad pennant belongs - has been superseded by that of rear admiral
(lower half) and the pennant accordingly replaced by an appropriate flag of command
(see also ‘broad command pennant’,
‘flag of command 1)’ and
Former Commodore’s Broad Pennant, US (seaflags)
- A Scottish term, now obsolete, for a flag hanging from a crossbar – a gonfalon
- BROKEN CROSS
- See ‘swastika’
House Flag of The Iceland Steamship Co Ltd 1914 – c1943 (fotw)
- A heraldic term for the colour brown (see also ‘rule of tincture’).
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