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

Dictionary of Vexillology: F (Flag of a Dependent or Overseas Territory - Flag Officer)

Last modified: 2014-08-09 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors



On this page:


FLAG OF A DEPENDENT OR OVERSEAS TERRITORY (or OVERSEAS DEPARTMENT)
See ‘colonial flags/ensigns’ and its following note.

[Bermuda] [St. Maarten] [American Samoa]
Flag of Bermuda (fotw); Flag of St Maarten (fotw); Flag of American Samoa (fotw).


FLAG OF CEREMONY
See ‘indoor flag’.

[bandera de ceremonia]
National Flag of Argentina in Flag of Ceremony/Indoor Format (Vexilla Mundi)

Please note that this term is a direct translation of the Spanish "Bandera de Ceremonia" and should not be confused with a ceremonial ensign/or flag as listed separately herein.


FLAG OF COMMAND
1) In naval usage, the rank flag of an officer entitled to fly a flag or broad pennant when that officer is appointed to command naval forces – a command flag (see also ‘balls of difference’, ‘broad pennant’, ‘command pennant’, ‘flag disc’, ‘flag officer 1)’, ‘flag officer 2)’, ‘flag ship’, ‘rank plate’, ‘wear’ and ‘yellow admiral’).
2) An alternative term for a rank flag (see also ‘distinguishing flag 3)’, ‘individual flag’, ‘personal flag 4)’, and ‘rank flag)’.

[flags of command]
From left: Fleet Admiral, USN (fotw); Admiral. USN (fotw); Vice Admiral, USN (fotw); Rear Admiral, USN (fotw); Rear Admiral (lower half) USN (fotw)

Notes
1)
Although these terms are sometimes considered interchangeable, the Editors have drawn a general distinction between the command flags used by senior naval officers, the rank flags employed by officers from the other armed services, the distinguishing flags of civilians and with personal flags.
2) A further distinction has been drawn between the flag of command which replaces the masthead pennant, and command pennants which do not.


FLAG OF CONVENIENCE
The flag flown by a vessel registered in one country, but whose owners are not nationals of that country, and usually for reasons of economy or the evasion of more stringent regulations elsewhere.

[flags of convenience]
National Flag/Civil Ensign of Panama (often flown as a flag of convenience)


FLAG OF DEFIANCE
A plain red flag widely used in European waters prior to the invention of flag signal codes to signify an intention to give battle – colours of defiance or the bloody flag (see also ‘baucans’).

[flags of defiance]

Please note that although in widespread use prior to this date, the flag of defiance did not appear in English naval Instructions until 1647 (and was dropped in 1799) – see ‘red flag 2)’ and its following note.


FLAG (or FLAGS) OF DISTRESS
1) Flag V (Victor) in the International Code of Signal Flags flown at sea as a request for assistance.
2) Flags N (November) and C (Charlie) hoisted as a group at sea to indicate that a vessel is in distress (see also ‘signal hoist’).
3) In US usage, an orange flag bearing a black square and disk in the centre prescribed by the US Coast Guard for use by small boats and pleasure craft in the territorial and inland waters of the USA.

[flags of distress]
From left: 1) Signal Flag Victor; 2) - 3) November–Charlie; 4) US Signal

Notes
a)
While some may still acknowledge an upside-down ensign as a signal of distress, it is no longer recognized under international rules; and that the waft, also previously used, is now entirely obsolete (see also ‘International Code of Signal Flags’, ‘signal flag’ and ‘waft’).
b) According to the US Coast Guard regulations the orange flag should be either square with vertically arranged symbols as illustrated above, or rectangular with the square and disc horizontal, and that a very similar signal is recommended in the ICS for identification from the air (see also ‘International Code of Signals’).


FLAG OF HONOUR (or HONOR)
In now obsolete Austro-Hungarian maritime usage, one of two flags presented to merchant captains for meritorious service in peace (white field) or war (red field), and flown from the mainmast between 1850 and 1918 – an honour flag but see note below (also ‘main’).

[Austro-Hungary flag of honor]
Austro-Hungary 1850 – 1918 (Željko Heimer)

Please note that the term honour flag has been used for two other designs issued by different authorities under differing circumstances, and it is therefore suggested that this form of the term should be applied only to those flags – see ‘honour flag 1)’ and ‘honour flag 2)’.


FLAG OF PRETENCE (or PRETENSE)
1) A newly introduced and heraldically derived term for any flag that displays a symbol or symbolism which assumes the possession of territory or status to which it has no current entitlement, or lays claim to that territory or status – a pretentious flag – see ‘escutcheon of pretence 1)’ (also ‘false flag 1)’, ‘fictional flag’, ‘fictitious flag’ and ‘replica flag’).
2) See ‘anticipatory flag’ and note below.

[flag of pretence] [flag of pretence] [flag of pretence]
National Flag of Comoros (fotw); Naval Ensign of Bolivia (fotw); 51 Star Flag of The United States (fotw)

Please note that the 51 star flag of the United states displays one more star than there are states in the Union, whilst the national flag of Comoros or the naval ensign of Bolivia for example (and illustrated above), show one more star than they have provinces under their current control. An “anticipatory flag”, on the other hand, such as a 39 star flag of the United States, displays a symbol of granted statehood but in advance of its official appearance on the flag.


FLAG OF PROTECTION
1) See 'safe conduct flag 1)'.
2) In largely (but not exclusively) UK usage now obsolete, a term sometimes employed to describe the flag of a powerful state that has extended its military and/or naval protection over another.

FLAG OF ST GEORGE
See ‘St George’s Cross 2)’.

[flag of St. George]
Command Flag of a Full Admiral, UK (fotw)


FLAG OF THE MARINE CORPS
See ‘branch of service flag’ (also ‘armed services flag’ and ‘battle colour’).

[Marine Corps flag]  [Marine Corps flag]
Flag of the Marine Corps, US (fotw); Flag of the Marine Corps, Brazil (fotw)


FLAG OF THE STATE OF
See ‘state flag 2)’.

[flag of the state of Florida]
Flag of the State of Florida, US (fotw)


FLAG OF TOLERANCE
One of six different flags introduced by UNESCO in 1995 and designed to be symbolic of the spirit of tolerance.

[Flag of tolerance]
Flag Representing the Balance of Life (fotw)


FLAG OF TRUCE
A plain white flag displayed as a sign of surrender, or as a wish for the temporary cessation of hostilities – a parley flag (see also ‘cartel flag’).

[Flag of truce]


FLAG OF WAR
A direct translation of the Spanish term bandera de Guerra – but see ‘war flag 2)’.

[Flag of war]
War Flag of Peru (fotw)


FLAG OFFICER
1) Generally a naval officer entitled to fly a flag of command, which replaces the masthead pennant when that officer is aboard ship (see also ‘command pennant’, ‘distinction of colour’, ‘flag captain’, ‘flag of command 1)’, ‘flagship’ and ‘masthead pennant 1)’).
2) Specifically in the British Royal Navy and some others, as above but an officer over the rank of commodore who is entitled to fly a flag of command – see note below (also ‘balls of difference’,  ‘flag 3)’, ‘broad pennant’ and ‘flag of command 1)’) and and ‘red ensign 2)’.
3) In US usage as 1), but the term may also include general officers of the army, air force and marine corps (see also ‘rank flag 1)’).

[Flag officer flag] [Flag officer flag] [Flag officer flag] [Flag officer flag] [Flag officer flag] [Flag officer flag]
Admiral in Command and not in Command; Vice Admiral in Command and not in Command, Rear Admiral in Command and not in Command, Spain (fotw)

Please note with regard to 2) that in Royal Navy usage all officers of flag rank were formerly considered to be flag officers, but that the term is now restricted to those of that rank who are entitled to fly a flag of command aboard ship.


FLAG OFFICER’S BROAD PENNANT
See ‘broad pennant 3)’ and ‘officer's pennant’.

[flag officer's broad pennant]
Yacht Club Vice-Commodore’s Broad Pennant, Finland (fotw)


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