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Dictionary of Vexillology: V (Vailing - Veteran's Flag)

Last modified: 2022-09-10 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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When the finial on the staff of military colour or parade flag is allowed to touch – or nearly touch - the ground whilst being lowered in salute - but see 'trailing 1)' (also ‘dipping 1)’).

The alternative heraldic terms for a fur (reputedly the winter coat of a squirrel), which is usually (but not invariably) shown as a series of blue shield- or bell-like shapes on a white or silver field - see ‘urdy’ (also ‘ermine’, ‘furs’ and ‘potent 1)’).

Awans, Belgium Vair Prahins, Switzerland
Flag of Awans, Belgium (fotw); Arms of Veiros, Portugal (fotw); Flag of Prahins, Switzerland (fotw)

In heraldry see ‘urdy’.

[urdy example] [urdy example]
Flag of Skaun, Norway (fotw)

The heraldic term used when an arm only is shown clad in armour - but see ‘harnysed’ (also ‘armoured’ and ‘embowed’).

Běhařov, Czech Rep. Běhařov, Czech Rep.
Flag and Arms of Běhařov , Czech Rep. (fotw)

Please note that the “vambrace” was a piece of armour which protected the forearm.

1) The term for a short, triangular pennant now obsolete, sometimes stiffened with a frame (often plain red) and formerly flown from the mastheads of sailing merchant vessels in place of a masthead pennant, or sometimes to identify individual ships when travelling in convoy (see also ‘frame 2)’, ‘masthead’ and ‘masthead pennant 1)’)  see supplemental note.
2) See ‘distinguishing vane’.
3) A length of bunting (or other light material) extended on a wooden stock and fixed in the shrouds of a yacht or small sailing vessel to indicate wind direction – a wind vane.
4) A small metal flag-like object; generally set on a rod on the top of a building – a wind or weather vane.
5) A pre-heraldic vexilloid in the form of a decorative metal plaque mounted onboard ship by the Vikings (see also ‘pre-heraldic’ and ‘vexilloid’).

a) It has been suggested that the word “vane” was a southern English dialect corruption of the Medieval term “fane” – see ‘
fane 1))’.
b) The term vane (or van) in heraldry can also refer to a ‘winnowing basket’ or scruttle/shruttle/fruttle/fan.

A medieval term, now obsolete, for a small flag or vane - see ‘vane 1)’.

A medieval term, now obsolete, for a banner – see ‘banner’.

1) A flag that shows comparatively minor differences (either official or unofficial) from some standard model, and one example would be the variously differenced standards of the British Royal Family (see also ‘difference 1’). ‘cadency, mark of’ and ‘label 2)’).
2) A term that may be applied when describing a flag which differs from others of the same basic design, but for which no official specifications are known (see also ‘de facto’, ‘de jure’ and following notes).
3) See ‘template flag’.

Niger India India
National Flag of India with two other variants of the chakra (fotw)

See ‘car flag’ and ‘fanion 2)’.

convoy flag convoy flag convoy flag
Car/Vehicular Flag and Standard of the Reich President 1933 – 1935, Germany (fotw); Two Vehicular Flags/Fanions According to NATO Regulations (fotw);

A distinctive design invented in Venice that gives an aesthetically pleasing, convex taper to a tall flagpole, and now one of the most common form used - but see ‘cone tapered’ (also ‘flag pole’).

A term (sometimes further divided into Venn A and Venn B) employed for the detailed classification of 17th Century English military colours, with particular regard to their use within a regiment (see also ‘colour 2)’, ‘colours 2)’, ‘company colours’, ‘device 2)’ and ‘stand of colours1)’). 

[venn example] [venn example] [venn example] [venn example] [venn example] [venn example]
Venn A - Stand of Six Colours (Colonel, Lt Col, Major, First – Third Captain), Westminster Liberty Regiment, London. England c1641 (fotw)

[venn example] [venn example] [venn example] [venn example] [venn example] [venn example]
Venn B – Stand of Six Colours (Colonel, Lt Col, Major, First – Third Captain), Blew Trayned Band, London, England c1641 (CS)

The above system of classification only applies to English colours, and is taken from those illustrated by Captain Thomas Venn in his book Military Observations (or the Tacticke Put Into Practice) of 1672.
b) There were a number of variations not originally covered by this classification, and that further, more comprehensive methods have been recently proposed.

An alternative heraldic term to paly - see ‘paly’.

Flag of Ueberstorf, Switzerland (fotw)

A heraldic term for the colour green – see ‘tinctures’ (also ‘rule of tincture’).

[colour example]

See ‘bicolour 1)’ and ‘bicolour 2)

vertical bicolour vertical bicolour
National Flags of Haiti 1805 and 1964 - 1986 (fotw)

See ‘banner 2)’and ‘hanging flag’ (also ‘vertically hoisted flag’).

Wolfsburg  Aschaffenburg
Vertical Flag/Banner of Wolfsburg, Germany (fotw); Vertical/Hanging Flag of Aschaffenburg, Germany (fotw)

See ‘meridian’.


See ‘multi-stripe’.

Flag of Duchcov, Czechia (fotw)

1) Generically, any pennant designed to be hung vertically (see also ‘pennant 2)’).
2) Specifically see ‘club pennant’.

vertical pennant vertical pennant
Pennant of the Kanu-Gemeinschaft Eiderstedt e.V (fotw); Pennant of the Rasen- und Wassersportverein Essen-Werden, Germany (fotw)

See ‘pale’ and pallet’.

Vertical stripes Vertical stripes Vertical stripes
Flag and Arms of Hoogstraten, Belgium (fotw & CS); Flag of Commugny, Switzerland (fotw)

See ‘triband 1)’ and ‘triband 2)’.

Vertical triband Vertical triband
Flag of Lindern, Germany (fotw); National flag of Nigeria (fotw)

See ‘tricolour 1)’ and ‘tricolour 2)’.

Moldova Romania
National flag of Moldova (fotw); National flag of Romania (fotw)

1) In German speaking, Central European and some other usage, a term that may be applied to any long, vertically orientated flag, but which (unlike a banner or hanging flag as defined herein) is hoisted along its upright (rather than topmost) edge - a flapping flag (see also ‘banner 2)’, ‘hanging flag’, ‘hoisted flag’, ‘outrigger flag’ and ‘rotated’).
2) See ‘banner 2)’ and ‘hanging flag’.

Sankt Wolfgang, Germany
Vertically Hoisted Flag of Sankt Wolfgang, Germany (fotw)

Please note with regard to 1) that this use of the term has been introduced by the Editors as no existing established term could be found, however, in German language vexillology the terms hochflagge, hochformatflagge, hochformatfahne, knatterflagge or knatterfahne (or their plurals flaggen and fahnen) are variously used.

In US army usage, now increasingly obsolete, a term for the special flag or pennant of an army unit, or of a type of command, flown by that unit or commander only when operating aboard a vessel – but see ‘boat flag 2)’ and note below.

[US Army oridinace corps] [US Army Transportation Corps] [US Army Mine planters]
Army Ordinance Corps, US; Army Transportation Corps, US; Army Mine Planters, US (fotw)

Please note that as far as is known the vessel flag of the US army transportation corps is still in current use, and that the vessel flag of the US corps of engineers is now also authorized to be flown on land at their facilities which are not located on Army installations.

The heraldic term that is properly employed to describe the vestments of a bishop, archbishop or prince of the Church, but which is sometimes used for the habit of a monk or friar – but see ‘habited’ (also ‘adorned 2)’ and ‘clad’).

Brod Moravice, Croatia Brod Moravice, Croatia Brod Moravice, Croatia
Arms of Poprad, Slovakia (fotw); Flag and Arms of Brod Moravice, Croatia (fotw)

The flag of an organization representing the veterans of a particular, service, war, campaign, or unit. The flags of veteran’s organizations are often mounted, trimmed and treated like a military colour (see also ‘parade flag 2)’ and ‘colour 2)’).

[Royal British Legion] Royal Naval Association, UK  Korean Veterans Association, UK
Flag of the Royal British Legion, UK (Graham Bartram); Flag of The Royal Naval Association, UK (Graham Bartram); Standard of the Korean Veterans Association, UK (Graham Bartram)

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