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British shipping companies (F)

Last modified: 2020-05-05 by rob raeside
Keywords: house flag | falkland islands trading co | federal steam navigation | furness lines |
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Falkland Islands Trading Co., Ltd.

[Falkland Islands Trading Co., Ltd. houseflag] by Phil Nelson, 11 April 2000

from Stewart and Styring's Flags, Funnels and Hull Colors 1963. This company is based in London.
Phil Nelson, 11 April 2000


Falmouth Oil Services Ltd.

[Falmouth Oil Services Ltd. houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker, 20 November 2005

Falmouth Oil Services Ltd., Falmouth - white flag, red drop outlined blue, with black & white bottom, between blue "FL".
Source: Loughran (1995)
Jarig Bakker, 20 November 2005


Farrar, Groves & Co.

[Farrar, Groves & Co. houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 3 April 2008

Lloyds Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of "Farrar, Groves & Co. (Fargrove Steam Nav. Co., Ltd.)" (#173, p. 44), a company based in London, as blue with a white diamond charged with a red quatrefoil.
Ivan Sache
, 3 April 2008 


Farstad UK, Ltd.

[Farstad UK, Ltd. houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker, 10 October 2005

Farstad UK, Ltd., Aberdeen - blue flag, white "F".
Source: Loughran (1995)
Jarig Bakker
, 10 October 2005


John Fenwick & Son

[John Fenwick & Son houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 22 March 2008

Lloyds Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of "John Fenwick & Son" (#64, p. 40), a company based in London, as
red with the white letters "JF&S.".
The Board of Trade Wreck Report for "Sibylla", 1888, mentions John Fenwick as the ship's owner.
http://www.plimsoll.org/resources/SCCLibraries/WreckReports/15332.asp
Ivan Sache, 22 March 2008 

I write with some further information on the shipping company John Fenwick and Son listed in your section on shipping company flags, as this was the company of my ancestor and I have undertaken some research on it recently.
    The company was formed around the 1850s by Captain John Fenwick when he moved from Newcastle to London. Captain Fenwick was an 'elder' of Trinity House, London from which he gained the captain rank. The company operated the entire time of its existence from 57 Gracechurch Street, London. When his sons John Fenwick Fenwick and Nicholas Percival Fenwick came of age they both joined the company as partners. They continued until gradually both the father and elder brother John Fenwick Fenwick, retired from the business and Nicholas Fenwick became sole manager until he retired some time following the first World War. I presume that the company was wound up following this retirement. The father, Captain John Fenwick was part of a shipping family in Newcastle and although I have no proof as yet I believe that he had original support financially and such from his father and brothers.
    I have not yet discovered what shipping business the company undertook, but I am supposing that it was primarily mercantile rather than passenger and there are strong links in the early years with the coal industry in Newcastle so perhaps they began by shipping coal to London. I have discovered that there were at least two wrecks which they defended in court and someone has traced some of the ships they owned which often as not were built on Tyneside.
Micah Sicotte, 23 April 2020


Faversham Shipping

[Faversham Shipping houseflag] image by Rob Raeside, 12 February 2012

The flag of Faversham shipping - divided per saltire white and blue, with F and S written in the two white quarters.
Brian Cooper, 12 February 2012

Quoting the company's website:

"Faversham Ships was formed in 1994 with the acquisition of the vessel 'Conformity'. A slow but steady approach to development has been undertaken and the company now operate ten cargo vessels ranging from 2350 to 3850mt dwt. This fleet comprises conventional & low air draft coastal vessels (suitable for dangerous cargoes, loading / discharging aground, highly manoeuvrable), providing a flexible range of ships types and sizes."

The website includes several pictures of the company's vessels, some of them with the house flag (more or less) visible. The flag is quartered blue-white per saltire, with the black letters "F" and "S" in the upper and lower white quarters, respectively.
Ivan Sache, 13 February 2012


Federal Steam Navigation Co. Ltd

[Federal Steam Navigation Co. Ltd houseflag] by Ivan Sache, 17 March 2004

The flag is white with a red cross and a blue rectangle superimposed on the cross.
Ivan Sache, 17 March 2004

The origin of the Federal Steam Navigation Company's house flag dates back to 1824 when the "Sir Edward Paget", one of Money Wigram's clippers, was anchored off Spithead flying the St. George's Cross at the Main. That was, and still is, the flag flown by an Admiral, and so a naval pinnace was sent by an H.M. frigate to investigate. There being no Admiral on board, the Master was censured and ordered to haul down his flag, but, thinking that his masthead looked bare, he rehoisted the flag after a blue pocket handkerchief had been sewn on the middle of the cross. These markings were adopted as the Company's house flag and were also painted on each side of the funnel, which was otherwise red with a black top.
Source: http://www.rakaia.co.uk/downloads/nzscl-house-flags.pdf
Jan Mertens, 11 December 2004

Federal Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. The origins are given somewhat loosely by various sources but the original flag appears to be that of Green & Wigram who were the owners of the "Sir Edward Paget" in 1824. This firm split in 1843 and Wigram took the flag with him to Money, Wigram & Sons whilst the successors of Richard Green, Frederick Green & Co. used a version by placing the blue panel behind the cross. Money Wigram & Sons came under the control of Allan Hughes of Allport & Hughes, their loading brokers, in 1882 and he acquired their remaining assets in 1884 after they sold off their ships. Allport & Hughes amalgamated in 1895 into Birt, Potter & Hughes who were financially and managerially involved in the formation of the Federal Steam Navigation Co. in that year. According to Talbot-Booth the flag was given to Federal in 1896, presumably by Hughes. The legend of how the flag originated has another slightly different version of the occasion with one of the officers said to have climbed to the masthead, cutting off the tail of his blue coat and attaching it to the centre of the cross. [See also Green & Wigram.]
Neale Rosanoski, 23 June 2005


Ferguson & Reid

[Ferguson & Reid houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 16 March 2008

Lloyds Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of "Ferguson & Reid" (#41, p. 38), a company based in Glasgow (Scotland), as blue with a white saltire and, in the middle, a white diamond bordered in blue and charged with the red letters "F.R.".
Ivan Sache, 16 March 2008 


James Fisher & Sons Ltd.

[James Fisher & Sons Ltd. houseflag] by Ivan Sache, 6 March 2004

[James Fisher & Sons Ltd. houseflag] by Rob Raeside

[James Fisher & Sons Ltd. houseflag] by Rob Raeside

James Fisher & Sons plc. A coastal shipping company dating from 1847 and still operating. Griffin 1895 shows a red flag with a white "F" and then from Lloyds 1904 onwards sources show the addition of a white panel with a blue "F" placed on it although Harnack differs by showing Ivan's version, though with a black "F" pre WW2 with post WW2 sources from Stewart 1953 onwards showing Ivan's version of white with a red border and a blue "F" although Brown has a wider border [or a bigger white panel on red, it depends on one's preference I suppose as to how such designs are described]. Some sources have shown the letter as black and these include the later editions of Brown in 1982 and 1995 and this colour fits in with the funnels which nearly all sources show as having a black "F" on a white funnel band.
Neale Rosanoski
, 23 June 2005

[James Fisher & Sons Ltd. houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker, 29 January 2006

James Fisher & Sons, p.l.c., Barrow-in-Furness - white flag bordered red; black "F".
Source: Loughran (1995)
Jarig Bakker, 29 January 2006

[James Fisher & Sons Ltd. houseflag] by Neale Rosanoski

In recent times there has been a total change, which can be made out on some ship photos, with a dark blue field with the logo [see the company website at http://www.james-fisher.co.uk/] appearing thereon to form the flag. The only description I have of the bird is that it is a "seabird".
Neale Rosanoski
, 23 June 2005


FOCS Container Service, Ltd.

[FOCS Container Service Ltd houseflag] by Ivan Sache, 17 March 2004

This is a UK firm nominally, but active in Canary Islands shipping (http://www.focscontainer.com/).  The flag is quartered blue and white, letters FO in the top quarters, CS in the lower ones (white letters on blue, blue on white).

Some information (extracted from the site):

"In September 2000 Oldenburg-Portugiesische Dampfschiffs-Rhederei GmbH & Co.KG (OPDR) of Hamburg acquired 100% of the shares of FOCS Canary Container Service, S.L., Tenerife from Fred. Olsen and Co, Oslo. The company subsequently switched its registration and headquarters to the United Kingdom and 'FOCS Container Service Ltd.' was formed in April 2003. The company maintained key personnel and the full agency network of the Fred. Olsen service, providing unrivalled experience and knowledge of the Canary Island market. FOCS offers a weekly fixed day service from the UK and the North Continent to/from the Canary Islands utilising OPDR vessels under a slot charter agreement. More recently the company has started to extend its service to adjacent areas."

Jan Mertens, 18 December 2003


Forth Tugs Ltd.

[Forth Tugs Ltd. houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker, 25 December 2005

Forth Tugs Ltd., Grangemouth - quartered red and blue; black diamond charged with a white lighthouse.
Source: Loughran (1995)
Jarig Bakker
, 25 December 2005


Forward Steam Fishing Co.

[Forward Steam Fishing Co. houseflag] image by Ivan Sache, 12 April 2008

Lloyds Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) shows the house flag of "Forward Steam Fishing Co., Ltd." (#273, p. 49), a company based in Grimsby, as divided red-blue by an ascending diagonal and with the letters "F" and "D" in the red and blue triangles, respectively.

See the very similar house flag of "East Anglia Steam Fishing Co., Ltd.", #270, p. 49.
Ivan Sache
, 12 April 2008 


William France, Fenwick & Co., Ltd.

[William France, Fenwick & Co., Ltd. houseflag] by Phil Nelson, 6 April 2000

from Stewart and Styring's Flags, Funnels and Hull Colors 1963

William France, Fenwick & Co. Ltd. Formed 1901 by a merger with the flag being that of one of the parties, Fenwick, Stobbart & Co. Ltd., previously to 1893 being Fenwick & Co., with the flag applying at that point as confirmed by Reed 1891. According to Loughran (1979) a slightly different version showing a cross of a lighter blue was used in the Goole-Yorkshire coal trade as the company itself diversified into deep sea tramping before folding in 1975. There are a couple of variations shown with Reed 1912 showing the red letters "WF" on the panel and Harnack who shows a white cross. The latter is probably a printing error but the Reed image, which is unsupported, refers to another of the merging parties, William France & Co. They originally had a blue flag with the white letters "WF" but in 1895 adopted a blue flag with a white cross which, according to Loughran (1979), was surmounted by a blue circle defined black and bearing the white letters "WF" [see image below] with Griffin 1895 differing by showing a white circle defined blue bearing the red letters "WF".
Neale Rosanoski, 16 February 2004

[William France, Fenwick & Co., Ltd. houseflag] by Ivan Sache


Fulwell Steamship Co. Ltd. (E.T. Dinsdale & Co.)

[Fullwell Steamship Co. Ltd. (E.T. Dinsdale & Co.) houseflag] by Ivan Sache, 7 January 2006

The webpage at http://www.gaicka.co.uk/Chris/fulwellssco.htm serves as an introduction to a small and little-known shipping company, Fulwell Steamship Co. Ltd. (E.T. Dinsdale & Co.)  The Sunderland-based firm is mentioned as a shipowner/broker in various Lloyds Lists between 1920 and 1928 but most information can be gleaned from a posthumous resume of Ernest Dinsdale, written by his widow, and accessible (clickable) at http://www.gaicka.co.uk/Chris/ETD_Resume.jpg. At the end of 1920 E.T. Dinsdale resigned as Manager of James Lythgoe and Co. (Sunderland), became a shipbroker and founded Fulwell Steamship the next year. According to Mrs. Dinsdale, the firm would eventually operate four steamers (the site gives detailed evidence of one). From 1925 on, business became difficult because of "unprecedented depreciation" in shipping and by 1928 the firm had to be wound up but Mr. Dinsdale remained in the shipping business for a number of years as an employee.

The house flag was divided horizontally white-black-white, a large red initial 'D' over all (in the sense that only small white segments appear within the initial).
Jan Mertens, 5 January 2005

The shareholders of East Coast Timber Co set up another company to act for them and this was T.G.Irving Ltd. Andrew Marshall and Tom Irving operated the company for many years.  They owned a number of ships e.g. Marena, Charlus, Carrick Lea, Rosedene, Ferndene, Ashdene, Briardene, Oakdene and traded until the 1970's.  They were in the coal trade operating mostly to Moray Firth, Orkney and Shetland but of course faded away with the coal trade.  They were also closely associated with the East Coast Timber Co. until that firm closed down.  ECT supplied pit-wood and therefore faded away with the coal business. They were also associated with the R.L. Cook Towage Co. of Sunderland until that company was absorbed into France Fenwick.  The funnel mark was common to both companies.
Andrew Marshall, 16 May 2006


Furness Lines

[Furness Lines houseflag] by Ivan Sache, 17 March 2004

The flag is blue with a white F.

Larousse Commercial Illustré (1930) shows Furness Withy & Co.Ld., London: blue with large white letter F (no serifs) in the centre, the height of which is about two thirds of the flag.
Jan Mertens
, 16 May 2004

[Furness Lines houseflag] based on 3:5 variant by Graham Bartram

Furness Lines. The Furness Withy Group became one of the UK's largest and originated with Thomas Furness & Co. who operated as ships chandlers etc. In 1872 brother Christopher joined the company which became shipowners in 1878 but as Thomas was not interested in shipping they split in 1882 with Christopher taking over the shipping under his own name. The original flag was the Union Flag defaced by a white square at the cross fess-point which was edged and bore an "F". Bonsor gives the edging and letter as blue whereas Reed 1891 shows them as black. Talbot-Booth varies slightly again describing the panel as being a white rectangle bearing a black "F". Bonsor appears to indicate that the blue flag with a white "F" also dates from around 1878 but I would image that it was more likely to have dated from the split between the brothers. It is shown by a photo in Bonsor for the "Newcastle City" built 1883.
Neale Rosanoski
, 23 June 2005


Furness Houlder Argentine Lines

[Furness Houlder Argentine Lines houseflag] by Jarig Bakker, based on the website of the National Maritime Museum.

From the website of the National Maritime Museum, "the house flag, Furness-Houlder Argentine Lines Ltd: A blue pennant bearing a black disc in the centre with two red stripes. A letter 'F' appears in the top left-hand corner. Below is a red pennant with a white cross in the centre. The pennants are made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. They have cotton hoists and are machine sewn. A rope and toggle is attached.
Jarig Bakker, 12 August 2004

Larousse Commercial Illustré (1930) shows Furness Houlder Argentine Lines, London: two pennants above each other, the upper one blue with white letter F in the hoist, the lower one red with a white Maltese cross in the hoist.

A predecessor: red flag with white Maltese cross in on-line 1912 Lloyd's Flags & Funnels, No. 757 for Houlder Line Ltd, London':
See: http://www.mysticseaport.org/library/initiative/Impage.cfm?PageNum=39&bibid=11061&ChapterId=8

Jan Mertens, 16 May 2004

Furness-Houlder Argentine Lines Ltd. was a joint venture with Houlder Bros. & Co. Ltd. formed in 1914/1915, Furness, Withy having taken an interest in Houlders in 1911 making it 100% in 1968 which appears to have seen the end of the venture. The pennants are based on the flags of the two constituent companies and as Jan points out the upper pennant originally just had the plain white "F".

The group contained several major companies such as Shaw Savill, Royal Mail, Pacific Steam Navigation, Houlder Brothers, Prince Line and Manchester Liners which originally kept their own flags whereas lesser companies adopted that of Furness, Withy. At the beginning of the 1970s fleet numbers took a downturn and in 1977 they formed a General Shipping Division to manage all subsidiaries which effectively finished the operations of these in all but names for ship registration purposes.
Neale Rosanoski
, 23 June 2005


Furness Withy & Co. Ltd.

[Furness Withy & Co. Ltd. houseflag] by Jarig Bakker, based on the website of the National Maritime Museum.

From the website of the National Maritime Museum, "the house flag of Furness Withy & Co. Ltd., London. A pale blue swallow-tailed pennant. In the upper hoist is a white letter 'F' and the centre of the pennant bears a black disc with two red horizontal stripes of irregular width. The flag is made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting with a linen hoist. It is machine sewn. A rope and toggle is attached.
Jarig Bakker, 12 August 2004

Furness, Withy & Co. Ltd. was formed in 1891 merging the interests of Christopher Furness which included the shipbuilders Edward Withy & Co. and the flag continued in use until 1949 (Talbot-Booth) when the Tapered swallowtail with the circle and white "F" in the canton was adopted.
Neale Rosanoski
, 23 June 2005

[Furness Withy & Co. Ltd. houseflag] image by Rob Raeside, 20 July 2015, based on the website of the National Maritime Museum.

Flag shown here is a compound flag comprising two pennants, the upper one similar to the swallowtail flag above, and the lower one red, bearing a white cross pattée.
Victor Lomantsov, 20 July 2015


Fyffes Group Ltd.

[Fyffes Group Ltd. houseflag] by Jarig Bakker, based on the website of the National Maritime Museum.

From the website of the National Maritime Museum, "the house flag of Fyffes Group Ltd, London. A blue swallowed-tailed burgee bearing a yellow triangle against the hoist with the name 'Fyffes' in white letters on a navy blue oval. The flag is made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. It has a cotton hoist and is machine sewn. A rope and toggle is attached. 'Fyffes 9 x 6' is inscribed on the hoist."

This is associated with the huge conglomerate around the United Fruit Company  (US).
Jarig Bakker, 12 August 2004

Fyffes Group. Changed name 1969 from Elders & Fyffes Ltd. with the previous flag being shown under that name. Its association with the United Fruit Company (now Chiquita Brands) ended in 1986 when it was acquired by Fruit Importers of Ireland with the flag still flying though they now seem to be charterers rather than owners.
Neale Rosanoski
, 23 June 2005


British Shipping lines: continued
 
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