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United Kingdom: Flags reported in Le Gras' Album of 1858

Last modified: 2015-05-20 by rob raeside
Keywords: royal navy | united kingdom |
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See also:

Introduction

Le Gras' Album of 1858, is available in digitized form at
http://books.google.hr/books?id=HClTAAAAcAAJ&dq=album%20des%20pavilions%20guidons&pg=PT19#v=onepage&q=album%20des%20pavilions%20guidons&f=false (full details at [leg58]).

Page 4 of the Album shows various flags of the admirals of the Royal Navy and merchant marine. These are different from the flags shown at Royal Navy Boat Flags 1702-1864. The page is titled "Angleterre" even if one would expect it to be United Kingdom already.
Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

Some of the details are incorrect and some of the flags were different before 1805.
     1702 –1805.

Regulations and Instructions relating to His Majesty's Service at Sea.
Article III. For the better Distinction of Flag‑Officers passing in their Boats, the following Regulation is to be observed; the Admiral of the Fleet, the Admirals of the White and Blue, and the Vice‑Admiral of the Red, may carry their proper Flags at the Head of their Boats, when they think proper; but there shall be in the other Flags the following Distinction, viz. a white Ball in the Flag of the Rear‑Admiral of the Red, a blue Ball in the Flag of the Vice of the White; and two blue Balls in the Flag of the Rear of the White; a white Ball in the Flag of the Vice of the Blue, and two white Balls in the Flag of the Rear of the Blue; the said Balls to be in a Canton, at the upper Corner of the Flag, next the Staff.

Thus:-
Admiral of the Fleet, Union Jack.
Vice-Admiral of the Red, Red flag.
Rear-Admiral of the Red, Red flag with one white ball.
Admiral of the White, St George’s flag.
Vice-Admiral of the White, St George’s flag with one blue ball.
Rear-Admiral of the White, St George’s flag with two blue balls.
Admiral of the Blue, Blue flag.
Vice-Admiral of the Blue, Blue flag with one white ball.
Rear-Admiral of the Blue, Blue flag with two white balls.

In 1805 the rank of Admiral of the Red was created in addition to Admiral of the Fleet.

Article 8 .When Flag-Officers shall think fit to carry their Flags at the head of their Boats, they shall wear the following Flags to
distinguish their Ranks, viz.
The Admiral of the Fleet, and the Admirals of the Red, White, and Blue, shall each wear his proper Flag; Vice-Admirals of the Red and Blue, their proper Flag, but with one White Ball in it; and Vice-Admirals of the White, their proper Flag, with One Blue Ball in it. Rear-Admirals of the Red and Blue, their proper Flag, with Two White Balls; and Rear-Admirals of the White, their proper Flag, with Two Blue Balls in it. The Balls to be large enough to be, easily distinguished, and to be in the upper part of the Flag, and near the Staff.
Thus,
the Admiral of the Red now had a Red flag,
the Vice-Admiral of the Red a Red flag with one white ball,
and the Rear-Admiral of the Red a Red flag with two white balls.
David Prothero, 19 June 2014

Admiral

The flags of the admirals are given in three "squadrons": white (with the red cross, the detail seems to be forgotten or defaulted in writing, unless some of the admirals indeed used pure white flags which I doubt!), red and blue.
Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

[Admiral's boat flag ] image by Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

[Admiral's boat flag ] image by Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

[Admiral's boat flag ] image by Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

The full admiral would show the undefaced flag.
Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014


Vice-Admiral

[Vice-Admiral's boat flag ] image by Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

[Vice-Admiral's boat flag ] image by Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

[Vice-Admiral's boat flag ] image by Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

The vice admirals show a flag defaced with a single white (or red, in case of the white flag) ball of difference in the canton.
Željko Heimer
, 17 June 2014

Before 1805

[Vice-Admiral's boat flag ] image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 23 August 2014


Rear-Admiral

[Rear-Admiral's boat flag ] image by Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

[Rear-Admiral's boat flag ] image by Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

[Rear-Admiral's boat flag ] image by Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

The rear admiral's flags show two balls.
Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

Before 1805

[Rear-Admiral's boat flag ] image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 23 August 2014


Commodore

[Rear-Admiral's boat flag ] image by Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

[Rear-Admiral's boat flag ] image by Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

[Rear-Admiral's boat flag ] image by Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

The commodores fly similar swallow-tailed flags undefaced.
Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

Admiralty

The flag shown is pretty much like the one at the top of United Kingdom: Admiralty, with understandable minor artistic differences. The explanation gives a detail that I was not aware of - namely, this flag would be hoisted on a ship whenever there were on board at least three members of the Admiralty.
Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

St. George Jack

As expected. Does not really states what the use of this flag would be, but mentions the flag of London which is the same with a dagger in the first quarter.

Trinity House

As expected - see Trinity House

Artillery flag

The "Artillery Flag" refers to British ordnance, the banner of arms of the Board of Ordnance, like we show here at Board of Ordnance: War Department Fleet with minor artistic differences and the ratio close to 5:9 (as stated to be for all the flags on this page).

Customs ensign

Customs Ensign ("Customs-house"). The red ensign with crowned initials CH (standing presumably for Customs House). The note states there is also a blue ensign version of it. See Customs Ensign 1842.

Excise

The red ensign with crowned six-pointed star with white disk inscribed EX. This is apparently another variation of the flags shown at Excise Flag 1801-1816.

Victualing service

See Victualling Service page with remarks by David Prothero and Miles Li. This flag would have been obsolete by Le Gras' time. He shows the anchors lower then we have it in our image (but such detail may not be of importance).

Transport service

The red ensign with a single vertical yellow anchor (without the rope). Would that be a predecessor to the Department of Transport flags?

Red ensign

See Red Ensign page.

Royal Yacht Club

Depicting the simple St. George white ensign without the UJ in the canton. This is presumably the burgee, as the blue ensign is mentioned to be used as the ensign.

Jersey

[Jersey flag ] image by Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

Undefaced "St. Partick saltire" flag - see Jersey

Jersey pilots

[Jersey pilots flag ] image by Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

Cinque Ports

See Warden of the Cinque Ports (second image). However, the drawing differs from it (apart from artistic details) in having the first half of the third quarter (or a ship gules) bordered red, just as reported by Peter Hans for Norris and Hobbs 1848.
Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

Scottish Lighthouse Board

[Jersey pilots flag ] image by Jaume Ollé, 28 June 2014

This matches more or less those reported at Scottish Lighthouse Board, while Norris and Hobbs show coloured natural depiction of the lighthouse, and Brown (1905) another version, the one shown here is more "vexillographic" in design. Unfortunately, the Google scan of the page shows the whole image black and white (it seems that there is some automation in the digitalization process, where some images are simply shown black and white, notably smaller images like pennants etc.) but colours seems to be clear enough for me to attempt a drawing.
Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

Ireland

[Le Gras album ] image by Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

Ireland: The infamous green ensign with golden harp.

[Le Gras album ] image by Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The UJ with white "angular" shield with the golden harp. See Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Also, see also the note on white shield used by Norris and Hobbs as well. It seems Le Gras used that book as his source.
Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

Edinburgh

See Edinburgh, although the artwork if quite different, of course.
Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

Dublin

Blue with three inflamed castles all gold.
Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

Isle of Man

The famous Manx civil red ensign with triskelion in the fly. Like Norris and Hobbs, this one shows it "running away" from the hoist, but unlike N&H, all golden and one leg pointing upwards (i.e. one knee at the bottom).
Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014

Island of Heligoland

Island of Heligoland. Showing the "tricolor ensign" with the UJ in canton. The text explains that two more flags are in use, one without the "yacht" (which I guess mean UJ - did I miss out that French vex term?) and a red flag with white seagull - if my translation is correct ("un pavillon rouge avec une mouette blanche au centre") - that may be the unidentified 19th Century Flag, "reported in 1848" presumably again by Norris and Hobbs.
Željko Heimer, 17 June 2014


 
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