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British Car Flags

Last modified: 2019-08-06 by rob raeside
Keywords: car flags |
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High Commissioners Flag for Car.

1936: The car flag of a British High Commissioner was a plain Union Jack. However in Australia, State Governors, apart from Victoria, also used a plain Union Jack as a car flag. The governors' car flag was slightly larger than that of the High Commissioner but to avoid any confusion a United Kingdom High Commissioner's car flag was approved by King George V on submission from the Lord Chamberlain's Office. In Australia it was approved by Governor General Lord Gowrie and his Prime Minister, and brought into use by High Commissioner G. Whyskard.

Flag: Letters U K above letters H C on 2 inch diameter white circle on nine inch by four and a half inch Union Jack.

1955: UKHC flag used in Australia, New Zealand, Federation of Rhodesia-Nyasaland, and by Deputy HC in India. Plain Union Jack in South Africa, Pakistan, Ceylon. No flag in Canada.

Ambassadors represent the Queen, High Commissioners represent the British Government.
National Archives (PRO) DO 35/7968

Board of Trade Flags for Trade Commissions.

Car flags for United Kingdom Trade Commissioners. 6 inch x 12 inch bunting Blue Ensign with Board of Trade ship painted or printed on cambric and appliquéd on both sides. Badge reversed on opposite side. Expected to last 2 years but agreed that they could be replaced where necessary after 6 months.
National Archives (PRO) BT 296/66.

Car Pennant for Board of Admiralty.

1952: Admiralty Fleet Order 3050/52.
When civilian members of the Board of Admiralty (Parliamentary and Financial Secretaries, Civil Lord, Permanent Secretary) individually pay an official visit to naval establishments they will fly a distinguishing flag on their car. Admiralty anchor in gold, placed horizontally on a crimson field with a dark blue surround 1/12th the width of the flag. The 6 inch x 12inch flag has 1/2 inch border.

Rejected options.
Gold anchor on dark blue.
Gold anchor on crimson with white border, or with blue border.
St George's flag with Admiralty flag in canton.

All members of Board of Admiralty, civilian and naval, are commissioners for executing the office of Lord High Admiral. First Lord wrote that flags on cars were in no way parallel to flags on boats.

Other car flags.

First Lord of the Admiralty : Admiralty Flag.
Board of Admiralty (at least two members and Secretary) : Admiralty Flag.
First Sea Lord : White Ensign
Other naval members of Board of Admiralty : personal flag (i.e. rank as naval officer).

Chief of Imperial General Staff : Union Jack with War Office badge (royal crest).
Army Council, Secretary of State to Permanent under Secretary : Army Council flag (red and blue pennant with War Office badge).

[According to Flags of All Nations, the 'pennant' was actually a rectangular flag.
Miles Li
, 26 May 2003

There were no illustrations and I repeated the words used in the document. I think it was not uncommon to call a miniature rectangular flag a pennant.
David Prothero, 27 May 2003]

Royal Air Force.
Secretary of State: Royal Air Force badge on light blue flag.
Chief of Air Staff: miniature Royal Air Force Ensign.
Other members of Air Council including civilians: eagle and crown on light blue over dark blue flag.

[According to Flags of All Nations, *Royal Crest* on light blue over dark blue flag.
Miles Li, 26 May 2003.

I guess this is the 1958 edition of Flags of All Nations? The flag may have been changed between 1952 and 1958.
David Prothero
, 27 May 2003]

The practice of having flags on cars grew up during WWII and was codified in 1947.
National Archives (PRO) ADM 1/24943

David Prothero, Miles Li, 26 May 2003