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Dictionary of Vexillology: F (Federal Service Flag - Fixed)

Last modified: 2017-07-05 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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FEDERAL SERVICE FLAG
The term used in Austria and Germany for the flag flown by agencies of the federal government - see ‘state flag 1)’ (also ‘state service flag 1)’).

[Federal Service Flag of Austria] [Federal Service Flag of Germany]
The Federal Service Flags of Austria and Germany (fotw)


FERRULE
A metal tip placed on the bottom of a staff (see also ‘pike’ and ‘staff 2)’).

[ferrrule]
A Ferrule According to Spanish Regulations (Reglamento de Banderas Actualizado)


FER DE MOLINE
In heraldry see ‘millrind’.

[Pepinster Belgium] [Pepinster Belgium]
Arms and Flag of Pepinster, Belgium (fotw)


FESS (or FESSE)
The heraldic term for a horizontal stripe where the centre line lies along the horizontal meridian of a shield, a banner of arms or any quartering thereof, and which (in strict heraldic usage) should occupy one-third the width of that shield, banner of arms or quartering – but see ‘triband’, and compare with ‘bar’ (also ‘banner of arms’, ‘in fess’, ‘perfess’ and ‘quartering 1)’).

[fess] [Austria civil flag] [Austria civil flag]
Shield from the National Arms of Austria (CS); National Flag of Austria (fotw); Flag of Hard, Austria (fotw)

In vexillology a fess and a bar are regarded as almost synonymous, however, please note that in strict heraldic usage there is a size difference between the two (as listed herein), and that a fess should be confined to the centreline of the field whereas a bar or bars need not.


FESS-POINT (or FESSE-POINT)
In heraldry see ‘honour point 2)’.

[fess-point]


FESSLET
A heraldically derived term intended to mean a single, narrow horizontal stripe – but see ‘bar’, ‘barrulet’ and ‘filet’ (also ‘fess’).

[fesslet] [fesslet]
Example; Flag of Templários (Floresta Central e Albufeiras) Tourism Region, Portugal (fotw)


FESSWISE
1) In traditional heraldry see ‘in fess’.
2) In some heraldic usage this term relates specifically to the axis of a charge or charges, rather than to its, or their position, on a shield, a banner of arms or a flag – but see ‘in fess’ as referenced above, and the note below.

Hölstein, CH Hölstein, CH Rickenbach bei Winterthur, CH Rickenbach bei Winterthur, CH Arni, CH Arni, CH
Flag and Arms of Hölstein, Switzerland (fotw & Wikipedia); Flag and Arms of Rickenbach bei Winterthur, Switzerland (fotw & Wikipedia); Flag of Arni, Switzerland (fotw); Flag and Arms of Gisikon, Switzerland (fotw & Wikipedia)

Please note with regard to 2) that charges can be arranged in pale but orientated fesswise as per the example below, with would be blazoned as “…three arrowheads fesswise in pale”’

Uezwil, CH
Flag of Uezwil, Switzerland (fotw)


FESSY
In heraldry see ‘in fess’).

[fessy example] [fessy example]
Flag and Arms of Saerbeck, Germany (fotw & Wikipedia)


FESTIVE BANNER (or FESTIVE FLAG)
See ‘ceremonial flag 1)’ (also ‘gonfanon’).

[festive banner example]
Festive Banner of Barlinek, Poland (fotw)


FICTIONAL FLAG
A flag that appears in a work of fiction either visual or written - which may or may not have physical existence as a flag - but which is (entirely or largely) a product of the author’s imagination (see also ‘fictitious flag’ below).

[flag from Star Trek] [flag from the Movie Royal Flash ] [flag from the novel Nostromo]
Flag from the Science Fiction TV Series Star Trek (fotw); Flag of Strackenz from the Movie Royal Flash (fotw); Flag of Sulaco from the novel Nostromo (fotw)


FICTITIOUS FLAG
A flag – or the illustration of a flag - that purports to represent an actual entity or person, but for which no evidence of any such use by that entity or person exists – a pseudo flag or spurious flag – but see ‘flagoid’ (also ‘false flag 1)’, ‘fictional flag’ above, ‘flag of pretence 1)’ and ‘replica flag’).

[flag from film Dark of the Sun] [flag from film Casablanca] [flag from film K-19]
Spurious Flag of the Congo from the film Dark of the Sun (fotw); Spurious Flag of French Morocco from the film Casablanca (fotw); Spurious Soviet Naval Flag from the Film K19


FIELD
1) The whole background or predominant colour of a flag – the ground of a flag.
2) In heraldry, the surface of a shield upon which charges or bearings are blazoned, or of each separate coat when the shield is quartered or impaled (see also ‘blazon’, ‘coat’, ‘impale’, ‘shield’ and ‘quarter’).

[Nova Bukovica, Croatia] [Nova Bukovica, Croatia]
Flag and Arms of Nova Bukovica, Croatia (fotw)


FIELD FLAG
1) In US military usage, a larger version of a positional flag designed for hoisting on halyards outdoors under field conditions (see ‘positional flag’).
2) In US military usage, a national flag of approximately the same size flown with the positional field flag.

FILET
The heraldic term for a narrow horizontal stripe that is of no specified width, but which is considered to be a diminutive of bar – see ‘bar 1)’ (also and ‘barrulet’).

[filet]
Please note that the term is sometimes spelt “fillet” but in this form it has a different meaning in English heraldry – see ‘fillet 2)’ and ‘fillet 3)’.


FILET CROSS
A term sometimes used to describe a plain cross with narrow arms – but see ‘filet’ and ‘cross 1)’ (also ‘fillet 1)’ and ‘fillet 2)’). 

[filet cross] [filet cross]
Example; Flag of Zhytomir County, Ukraine

Please note that the term is sometimes spelt “fillet” but in this form it has a different meaning in English heraldry – see ‘fillet 2)’ and ‘fillet 3)’.


FILLET
1) A frequent misspelling of the heraldic term filet - see ‘filet’.
2) A heraldic term used to describe a second chief placed below that at the top of a shield or banner of arms; it is suggested by some sources that a fillet should have a depth equal to one-fourth of the chief above and by others that it is merely a diminutive of that term – see ‘chief’.
3) The term may also be used to describe a narrow headband or plain coronet – see ‘coronet 1)’. 

[fillet] [fillet] [fillet] [fillet]
From left: Example; Flag and Arms of Virovitica-Podravina, Croatia (fotw); Flag of Corsica, France (fotw)


FIMBRIATION (or FIMBRIATED)
1) Generically on flags, a (relatively) narrow band or line of contrasting colour separating two areas of the same, similar or differing colour, such as a band, charge or canton, from its field. Its use in flags is derived from the application of the heraldic rule of tincture. Two tinctures can be separated by a band of a metal (gold/yellow or silver/white) or two metals by a band of one or other tincture.
See note below (also ‘canton 1)’, ‘edging’ and ‘border’).
2) Specifically and in heraldry, as above but a narrow band or line placed on a shield, banner of arms or flag in accordance with the rule of tincture – see ‘rule of tincture’ (also ‘border’snd ‘multi-stripe’)

Ghana Spanish Morocco Saudi Arabia Cacinci, Croatia Cacinci, Croatia
From left: Civil Ensign of Ghana (fotw); Civil Ensign of Spanish Morocco 1937 – 1956 (fotw); Civil Ensign of Saudi Arabia (fotw);  Flag and Arms of Čačinci, Croatia (fotw & Željko Heimer)

Please note with regard to 1) that a charge may have a double or even triple fimbriation, and if so we suggest that you consult the entry for 'cotticed' and its following note.


FIN FLASH (or MARKING)
A term for the national colours (or sometimes the national flag/an emblem therefrom) when painted as a symbol of nationality on the tail plane/fin of largely (but not exclusively) military aircraft - a fin marking or rudder stripes (see also ‘fuselage marking(s)’, ‘aircraft marking(s)’, ‘flag emblem’, ‘roundel 1)’, ‘national colours 2)’, and ‘wing marking(s)’).

Royal Australian Air Force fin flash  Royal Thai Air Force fin flash fin flash of Zimbabwe fin flash of Brunei
Fin Flash of the Royal Australian Air Force (fotw); Fin Flash of the Royal Thai Air Force (fotw); Fin Flash of Zimbabwe (fotw); Fin Flash of Brunei (fotw)


FINIAL
A cast or carved ornament (such as a cross, crescent, crown or spearhead) placed at the top of the flagpole, mast or flag staff above the truck or on the top of a staff – a staff ornament (see also ‘Appendix I’, ‘ferrule’, ‘flag pole’, ‘pike’, ‘staff 2)’ and ‘truck’).

[finial] [finial] [finial]
US Military Finials: President, Navy and Army (fotw)


FIRE ALERT FLAG
In largely US usage, a flag with a red field and inscriptions raised in conjunction with a wildfire danger warning by the Forestry Commissions of many states (see also ‘red flag 1)’).

[Fire Alert Flag - Oklahoma]
Red Fire Alert Flag of the Oklahoma Forestry Commission, US (CS)


FIRESTEEL
1) Generically in heraldry, a charge intended to represent the hand held anvil from which a spark is struck.
2) Specifically In Eastern European heraldry as above but presented as a ‘C’ shaped charge – an ocila or otsila - for example those on the shield in Serbia’s national arms.

[Firesteel example] [Firesteel example] [Firesteel example] [Firesteel example]
Lesser Arms and National Flag of Serbia (fotw); Flag of Aranđelovac, Serbia (fotw); Cavalry Standard, Holy Roman Empire c1630 (Željko Heimer))


FIRST CANTON (or QUARTER)
A term for that quarter of a flag which occupies the upper hoist - the first quarter, upper hoist or upper hoist canton – see ‘canton 1)’ and ‘canton 3)’ (also ‘hoist 1)’).

[First canton]


FITCHY (FITCHÉ or FITCHÉE)
A heraldic term signifying pointed, and almost invariably applied to a cross – see ‘cross fitchy’.

[cross fitchy]


FIXED
In heraldry see ‘throughout’.

[First canton]
Emperor's Standard 1871-1918, Germany (fotw)


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