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Australian Military Board Union Flag and Ensign

Last modified: 2021-07-17 by ian macdonald
Keywords: australia | military board |
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Military Board Union Flag

In the Australian Military Regulations 1916 'as made' on 28 July 1916, at Division 8 Regulation 237 the following flag was prescribed;- 'A special Union Jack bearing in its centre as a distinguishing mark the Royal cipher surrounded by a garland and a blue shield and surmounted by a crown, is to be flown by members of the Military Board and District Commandants when embarked in boats or vessels on duty.' After the Australian Military Regulations 1927 were made, the Military Board changed to the flag discussed below, and this Royal cipher flag continued as the flag for the use of certain other high-ranking officers when embarked on duty in boats and vessels.
Jeff Thomson, 4 September 2015

The Australian Military Regulations 1927 'as made' on 14 December 1927 introduced a new Union Flag for the Military Board at Regulation 722. This provision also appeared at the equivalent Paragraph 1194 of the Army's Australian Military Regulations and Orders (AMR&O's):
'The Union Flag bearing in its centre as a distinguishing mark, a crown on a blue shield with the words "Military Board" on a white scroll in the lower half of the shield may be flown by the Military Board.' This flag could be flown for the Military Board as a whole, afloat and ashore including as a car-flag. The 'blue shield' probably meant the blue badge disc itself, rather than a blue shield-shape on a white disc.
Jeff Thomson, 10 November 2015


Military Board Blue Ensign

On 23 January 1941, the Military Board Union Flag prescription was replaced with an Australian Blue Ensign version:

'The Ensign of the Commonwealth bearing on the fly thereof, as a distinguishing mark, a crown on a blue shield with the words "Military Board" on a white scroll in the lower half of the shield may be flown by the Military Board or a member thereof when embarked upon duty in boats or vessels.' This flag could be flown by the Military Board as a whole and by individual Board members, but only afloat. There was a separate non-ensign car-flag, so this Army ensign did not have a 2:3 car-flag version. The blue shield was probably not placed on a white disc, so may have been invisible against the blue flag field.

In April 1942 the Military Board was suspended in favour of a Commander-in-Chief, General Blamey, so the flag went out of use and was not reinstated after the war. However it remained in legal effect until the flag-related Regulations 721-723 of the Australian Military Regulations 1927 were repealed on 26 February 1947.
Jeff Thomson, 10 November 2015


Flags in Australian Military Regulations of 1916 (No 166; 28/07/1916)

PART VIII.-HONOURS AND SALUTES.
DIVISION 8; FLAGS IN VESSELS AND BOATS.

235.-The Union Jack, being the distinguishing flag of the Admiral of the fleet only, is not to be flown on military boats and vessels.

236.-Defence Department vessels and boats are to carry the blue ensign of the Commonwealth.

237.-A special Union Jack bearing in its centre as a distinguishing mark the Royal cypher surrounded by a garland and a blue shield and surmounted by a crown, is to be flown by members of the Military Board and District Commandants when embarked in boats or vessels on duty.

Jeff Thomson, 14 July 2021


Flags in Australian Military Regulations of 1927 (No 149; 14/12/1927)

Part IX.- CEREMONIAL.
DIVISION 2.-HONOURS AND SALUTES.
Special Flags.

721. The Union Flag, being the distinguishing flag of the admiral of the fleet, is not to be flown on military boats and vessels.

722. The Union Flag bearing in its centre, as a distinguishing mark, a crown on a blue shield with the words “Military Board” on a white scroll in the lower half of the shield may be flown by the Military Board.

723. The Union Flag bearing in its centre, as a distinguishing mark, the Royal cypher surrounded by a garland on a blue shield and surmounted by a crown, may be flown by general officers commanding stations when embarked on duty in boats or vessels.

Amendment No 28; 30/03/1928 changed Regulation 721 to read as;-

721. The Union Flag, being the distinguishing flag of an admiral of the fleet, is not to be flown on military boats and vessels. (Only one changed word, 'the' to 'an').

Amendment No 99; 16/10/1935 included the following new regulation to be inserted.

722A. 1. The undermentioned flags are authorized to be flown on motor cars or carried by mounted orderlies;-

Occupant of car or officer upon whom mounted orderly is attendant. Flags authorized.
Member of Military Board, . . Flag described in A.M.R. 722
Formation, &c. Commander (other than District Base Commandant) . . Flag, distinguishing, division (red, swallow tail, with number of the division, &c., in white, the letter “C” being added in the case of a cavalry division. In the case of the Commandant, Royal Military College, the letters “R.M.C.” shall be used)
District Base Commandant . . Flag described in A.M.R. 723
Brigade Commander . . Flag, distinguishing, brigade (blue pendant)

  1.  The motor car flag shall be carried on the radiator cap and shall only be flown when the officer for whom it is authorized is present in the car.
  2. The size of the flags to be flown on motor cars shall be 9 inches by 6 inches with the following exceptions:-
    For a member of the Military Board – 12 inches by 6 inches.
    For a District Base Commandant – 9 inches by 4 ½ inches.
  3. The size of the flags to be carried by mounted orderlies shall be 18 inches by 12 inches.
Amendment No 45; 28/04/1937 deleted the 1935 table entirely and inserted this revised one.

Occupant of Car or Officer upon whom Mounted Orderly is attendant. Flag authorized.
Member of Military Board, . . Flag described in A.M.R. 722
Formation, &c. Commander (other than District Base Commandant or Commandant, Royal Military College) . . Flag, distinguishing, division (red, swallow tail, with number of the division, &c., in white, the letter “C” being added in the case of a cavalry division).
District Base Commandant . . Flag described in A.M.R. 723
Commandant, Royal Military College . . Flag with upper half red and lower half blue, bearing in its centre, in gold, the badge of the Corps of Staff Cadets.
Brigade Commander . . Flag, distinguishing, brigade (blue pendant)

Amendment No 14; 23/01/1941 repealed and replaced Regulation 722, amended Regulation 722A, omitted the table entirely and inserted another revised one, and amended Regulation 723.

722. The Ensign of the Commonwealth bearing on the fly thereof, as a distinguishing mark, a crown on a blue shield with the words “Military Board” on a white scroll in the lower half of the shield may be flown by the Military Board or a member thereof when embarked upon duty in boats or vessels.

722A. (1) The flags specified in Column 2 of the following table as authorized for the persons or officer specified in Column 1 of that table may be flown on motor cars or carried by mounted orderlies, as the case may be:-

                Column 1
Occupant of Car or Officer upon whom Mounted Orderly is attendant.
Column 2
Flag authorized.
Member of Military Board, . . Flag, distinguishing, Head-quarters of an Army, (red, black, red), bearing in its centre, as a distinguishing mark, the Royal Crest in gold, above the words 'Military Board' on a white scroll.
General Officer Commanding Command Flag, distinguishing, Head-quarters of a Corps (red, white, red)
District Commandant . . Flag, as for General Officer Commanding Command, with number of District (e.g. 4 M.D.) in black
Formation, &c. Commander (other than General Officers Commanding Commands, District Commandants, or Commandant, Royal Military College of Australia) . . Flag, distinguishing, division (red, swallow tail, with number of the division, &c., in white, the letter “C” being added in the case of a cavalry division)
Commandant, Royal Military College of Australia . . Flag with upper half red and lower half blue, bearing in its centre, in gold, the badge of the Corps of Staff Cadets.
Brigade Commander . . Flag, distinguishing, brigade (blue pendant).

(2) The motor car flag shall be carried on the radiator cap and shall only be flown when the officer for whom it is authorized is present in the car.
(3) The size of the flags to be flown on motor cars shall be 9 inches by 6 inches.
(4) The size of the flags to be carried by mounted orderlies shall be 18 inches by 12 inches.

723. The Union Flag bearing in its centre, as a distinguishing mark, the Royal cypher surrounded by a garland on a blue shield and surmounted by a crown, may be flown by general officers commanding Commands or by District Commandants when embarked on duty in boats or vessels.

Amendment No 25; 26/02/1947 repealed Regulations 721, 722, 722A and 723. These flag provisions with some changes were moved to the Australian Military Regulations and Orders, which were internal Army processes and not civil legislation.

Early in 1942 the Pacific War situation had prompted such a major expansion of Australia's military forces that the flag provisions above had become inadequate. Official flag authorisations were made through wartime orders and these remained in force in parallel with the flag provisions of the civil law Australian Military Regulations above, until the Regulations were repealed and the orders of 1944 were cancelled in late February 1947.

Jeff Thomson, 14 July 2021


Other Military Board flags

Smaller car and mounted-orderly versions of the 1927 Military Board Union Flag were prescribed in an amendment to the Australian Military Regulations 1927 (Reg 722A) effective from 16 October 1935 to 23 January 1941. The car flag version was to be 12 inches by 6 inches, and the version carried by mounted orderlies was to be 18 inches by 12 inches.

From 23 January 1941 the small Union Flag was replaced by a car and mounted-orderly flag for all members of the Military Board. It was 9 inches by 6 inches and was described at Regulation 722A as 'Flag, distinguishing, Headquarters of an Army (red, black, red), bearing in its centre, as a distinguishing mark, the Royal Crest in gold, above the words 'Military Board' on a white scroll.' Like the Military Board Blue Ensign which was flown when embarked in boats and vessels on duty, it became dormant after the Military Board was abolished on or about 31 March 1942 and was repealed from the Regulations on 26 February 1947.

From 27 February 1947 the Chief of the General Staff flew a Commonwealth Blue Ensign with the addition of the Royal Crest, both afloat and from motor cars. The other Military Board members used a flag described in the Australian Military Regulations and Orders (AMR&Os) paragraph 1193 as;- 'All other Military members of the Military Board - Flag, distinguishing, upper half red and lower half blue, with Royal Crest in gold embroidered on both sides'. There was a 6 feet by 3 feet version to be flown in boats and vessels, and a 9 inch by 6 inch car-flag. There were no longer references to use of the flags by mounted orderlies. In 1956 it was noted that the wording of the prescription excluded civilian members of the Military Board from having the flag flown, but on 7 May 1956 there was a directive from the Military Board that the flag could be flown for the civilian members. Presumably this flag continued until final abolition of the Military Board around 1976.
Jeff Thomson, 4 September 2015


Immediate post-war flag situation

 It is not clear what flag arrangements were in place for the Acting Commander-in-Chief from 1 December 1945 to 1 March 1946, and the Chief of the General Staff and the other members of the Military Board from 1 March 1946 to 27 February 1947. The Military Board had decided upon flag designs at a meeting on 10 May 1946, but post-war delays with the Attorney-General's Department's repealing of the flag provisions of the Australian Military Regulations 1927, regs 721, 722, 722A and 723 meant that the new arrangements could not be included in the Army's modified AMR&Os until 27 February 1947.
Jeff Thomson, 4 September 2015
 
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