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Lithuania - Historical Flags (1920's)

Last modified: 2023-06-03 by zachary harden
Keywords: lithuania | jack | naval jack |
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According to information below, the flags of Lithuania in 1920's were quite different from what is found in "Flaggenbuch". There are four flags to consider:
Željko Heimer, 16 May 2002

"State" ensign was adopted in 1919 but regulated only in 1927 (regulations are dated 1927). Between 1919-1936 it was used as naval ensign (2:3) and Jack (1:2). Jack was changed on 25 March 1936 and was suppressed in 1939. The 1936-1939 Jack is very close to the image below: red green bordered flag with two arms gold cross I don't know if the naval ensign was used furthermore as state ensign in the era 1919-1927. No state ensign after 1927 (but there is a Ministry of Transportation....)
Jaume Olle, 20 May 2002

Lithuania maintained what was probably the world's smallest navy before World War II, with just one warship of note, "Prezidentas Smetona", and there has been some uncertainty as to what flags it flew.
There is a photo of "Prezidentas Smetona", circa 1937-38. This photo clearly shows the State Ensign (a red shield bearing a white double cross placed in the middle on the two upper stripes of the national flag, proportions 2:3) to be both the naval ensign and the naval jack.
By implication, the Naval Ensign (proportions 1:2) and the Naval Jack are probably "reconstructions" which never existed.
Another photo is here.
Those photos shows "Prezidentas Smetona" wearing a masthead pennant as well, which appears to be similar to the one in use today: "Rectangular pennant with swallow-tail, national tricolour at hoist (1:4) and blue fly"
Miles Li, 18 November 2008

National Flag

image by Željko Heimer, 15 May 2002

National Flag (2:3) - Just as in "Flaggenbuch" , but it is not clear from FOTW when this flag was adopted (1918?).
Željko Heimer, 16 May 2002

State Ensign

image by Miles Li, 27 August 2017

In 1927, Lithuania had a state ensign which was yellow over green over red with a red shield bearing a double yellow cross, this on the two upper stripes in the center. Proportions 2:3.
Pascal Vagnat, 1 April 1997

Image here as illustrated on the chart Flags of All Nations [man36], had a yellow double cross. The illustration on Drawings of the Flags of All Nations [hms30] is similar, except the double cross was gold in colour.
Miles Li, 27 August 2017

State Ensign (2:3) - From what's written, it seems that the state ensign was adopted earlier then 1927 (Possibly 1927 is the source Pascal had). Also, from what's written it seems to me that this was indeed only ensign, not used as state flag on land. If we believe to "Flaggenbuch" this flag was before 1939 abandoned and replaced with red flag with different obverse and reverse design. If there were not many vessels carrying this ensign (as is to be expected) the change might not be so unimaginable.
Željko Heimer, 16 May 2002

Naval Ensign

[Naval Ensign of Lithuania - 1927] image by Željko Heimer, 18 June 1996

On 25 March 1927 a naval ensign was adopted. It was the same as the former, but the proportions were 1:2.
Pascal Vagnat, 1 April 1997

What flag the boats hoisted? In Flaggenbuch there is no flag that would match the use, and from [iva71] this ensign was in use until 1940?
Željko Heimer, 16 May 2002

There are some controversies surrounding the correct design of the pre-1940 Lithuanian naval ensign. I have found a page about the history of the Lithuanian navy; it's in Lithuanian, but there is a paragraph which I think says that the old Lithuanian naval ensign was created in June 15, 1927. It was the national flag, proportions 2:3, with a red shield carrying the white Vytis Cross (double-cross) at the centre of the two upper stripes. see <>.
Miles Li, 12 April 2004

Naval Jack

image by Željko Heimer, 16 May 2002

On 25 March 1927 a jack was adopted. It was red with a green border and a yellow double cross on the red field near the hoist. Proportions: more square than 2:3.
Pascal Vagnat, 1 April 1997