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Belgium: Flags shown in Le Gras' Album des Pavillons, 1858

Last modified: 2019-01-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: belgium |
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Presentation

Le Gras' Album des Pavillons (1858) [leg58] shows two plates of Belgian flags used at sea.

Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014


Royal ensigns

[Flag]         [Flag]

[Flag]

Royal ensign, Royal pennant and Royal masthead pennant - Images by Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014

The Royal ensign is a Belgian tricolour flag with the coat of arms in the centre. The flag, 3 m x 4.5 m in size, shall be used on the mainmast of warships and yacht when the king is on board, surmounted by a Royal pennant, with the appropriate set of ensign/jack hoisted, and on bow of a boat carrying the monarch, surmounted by a Royal standard or pennant, with the national ensign at stern.
For the Queen and Royal Princes, the ensign shall be hoisted on the mainmast of warships or yachts when they are on board, topped with the Royal masthead pennant, and as above for boats.

The Royal pennant (guidon royal) is described as the national pennant (presumably, a swallow-tailed tricolour Belgian flag) with the coat of arms in the centre. When used without the above flag, when the King is on board, no honour is prescribed.

The Royal masthead pennant (flamme royale) is described as the national masthead pennant charged with the coat of arms in the centre of the yellow field. When the flag is used alone, for members of the Royal House on board, no honour is prescribed, either.

Roger Harmignies and Michel Lupant [h2l87] state that these Royal standards are imaginary. Le Gras was the most probable source for Royal standards shown in subsequent sources as the national flag with a black shield charged with a a yellow lion and crowned, with more or less elaborate supporters.

Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014


National ensign

[Flag]

National ensign - Image by Željko Heimer, 27 February 2001

The Belgian tricolour flag, in proportions 2:3. was the ensign and the jack of the Belgian Navy and the ensign of the merchant fleet. It may also be used by the King at the main mast.
Hoisted on the mainmast surmounted by the national pennant, it was used by the Minister of the Navy, by other Ministers and Heads of Departments, and by Embassadors.
The flag was also hoisted by merchant ship on mizzenmast to request a pilot in Belgian waters.

Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014


Command pennant

[Flag]

Command pennant - Image by Željko Heimer, 27 February 2001

The command pennant is a swallow-tailed Belgian tricolour flag, in proportions 1:2 (c. 2.20 m x 4. 40 m).

Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014


Pilot's flag

[Flag]

Pilot's flag - Image by Phil Nelson, 27 February 2001

A Belgian tricolour flag with a white border is hoisted on mizenmast by naval ships to call a pilot. Merchant ships use a regular national ensign.

Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014


Merchant pennant

[Flag]

Merchant pennant - Image by Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014

A Belgian tricolour triangular pennant is reported to be rarely used by marchant ships.

Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014


National pennant

[Flag]

National pennant - Image by Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014

The national pennant is a Belgian tricolour, tapering swallow-tailed pennant. Proportions are stated as 0.10:6, with size 12 cm x 720 cm deduced from measurement of the drawing.

Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014


Flag of Ostend

[Flag]

Flag of Ostend - Image by Ivan Sache, 18 November 1991

Ships registered in the port of Ostend fly at the mast a flag horizontally divided red-yellow, in proportions c. 2:3.

Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014


Ostend pilot's flag

[Flag]

Flag of an Ostend pilot - Image by Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014

The flag of an Ostend pilot is blue, almost square, with a large white numeral "7".

Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014


Antwerp pilot's flag

[Flag]

Flag of an Antwerp pilot - Image by Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014

The flag of an Antwerp pilot is red, almost square, with a large white numeral "7".

Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014

The General Regulation for the Pilot Service in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, 1835, does specify:

Article 21.
The pilot ships will moreover fly, under penalty of a fourteen day suspension of service for the skipper who fails to do so, a blue flag, to the breadth of four common cloths, and to the length of three cubits and twenty inches, with the number assigned to that boat, sewn in in white in top.

Here "moreover" refers to the requirement in the previous article that the station name and boat number be painted on the sails and on the hull.
I can imagine that this remained valid after the Kingdom had split into The Netherlands and Belgium. However, since both parts had the right to pilot the Scheldt, it must have been necessary for the Belgian river pilots to change to red flags, rather than blue, to distinguish them from the Dutch pilots on the same stretch. This explains the difference between the blue Ostend pilot's flag and the red Antwerp pilot's flag.

At least, in 1843, the agreement between Belgium and The Netherlands included the Regulation ... concerning the pilotage and the joined supervision, which specifies:

Article 10.
(Painting station and number in sail and on hull).
The pilot ships will fly a flag, to the breadth of four common cloths and to the length of three cubits twenty inches, with the same number sewn in, in top, and this as indication to which nation they belong. The flag will be blue with a white number, for the Dutch, and red with a white number, for the Belgian pilot boats.
The vessels can moreover let fly their ensign.

Pilot ships at that time were not passively waiting for someone needing their service: The competition between the Belgian and Dutch river pilots (Scheldt pilots) lead to pilot ships apparently as far off as off the Isles of Wight and Texel, to solicit the job before it would go to the competition. These definitely were flags that were visible internationally, then.

Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 23 August 2014


Rank flags

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Rank flags - Images by Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014

The four rank flags are Belgian tricolour flags with four, three, two or one white balls arranged vertically in the top of the black stripe. The highest rank (four balls) is Lieutenant Admiral. The next ranks are Vice Admiral (3 balls, the flag being also that of a Lieutenant General), Major General (2 balls) and Division Commander (Commandeurs van der breeden wimpel, 1 ball). The flags are hoisted at the top of mast, only for officers holding command.

For Navy captains and Colonel in command on board, the series of colours includes the jack, ensign and national pennant. Generals and other high ranks not in command display also a blue pennant. Lower rank officers may hoist only the ensign and national pennant, and not the jack.

Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014


Yacht Club of Ostend

[Flag]

Flag of the Yacht Club of Ostend - Image by Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014

The flag of the Yacht Club of Ostend is blue with the Belgian national flag in canton.

Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014


Yacht Club of Antwerp

[Flag]

Flag of the Yacht Club of Antwerp - Image by Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014

The flag of the Yacht Club of Ostend is green with the Belgian national flag in canton and a crown in the fly.

Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014


Flag of Antwerp

[Flag]         [Flag]

Flag of Antwerp , two versions - Images by Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014

Ships registered in Antwerp used a flag horizontally divided either red-white or red-white-red, in both cases with the municipal coat of arms in the middle. The coat of arms (represented as the modern coat of arms on the above images) is made of a rectangular shield surmounted by an acanthus crown.

Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014


 
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