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Dictionary of Vexillology: A (Anchor - Appointment Flag)

Last modified: 2021-06-19 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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The device (or devices) for securing a vessel when moored in a roadstead or harbour and not alongside a wharf or quay – but see the note below, ‘anchor flag’ and ‘fouled anchor)’.

[anchor] [anchor] [anchor]
Flag of the Lord High Admiral 1661, England (fotw); Flag of the Admiralty Board 1976 – 2003, UK (fotw); Pennant of the State Police Nautical Squad, Italy (fotw)

a) Whilst other orientations are known, anchors are usually (but not invariably) illustrated vertically with the ring uppermost, and:
b) In a traditional anchor (as it is generally seen on flags) the chief parts are the shank or main section, the ring to which its cable or chain may be attached, the stock or cross piece below that ring, the arms at the base and the flukes at each end of those arms.

In heraldry see ‘cross moline’.

Flag of Oegstgeest, The Netherlands (fotw)

1) In UK usage, a term for the flag of the Lord High Admiral, and one the three masthead flags flown (since c1660) when the monarch is aboard a naval vessel – the Lord High Admiral’s (see also ‘masthead flag’).
2) In UK usage, now obsolete, the flag of the Board of Admiralty - the admiralty flag - but see note a) below (also ‘fouled anchor’).

[Lord High Admiral] [Lord High Admiral] [Lord High Admiral]
Lord High Admiral 1685 – 1688, England (fotw); The Board of Admiralty 19th Century, UK (fotw); Current Pattern, UK (fotw)

a) This office reverted to the crown in 1964 and HM The Queen was, for many years, her own Lord High Admiral (and has resumed the post since the death of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh), however, during the preceding two hundred and fifty years the office was most often “in commission” and this flag (or variations thereof) was also flown by the Board of Admiralty.
b) The three masthead flags flown when the monarch is aboard a naval vessel are traditionally that of the Lord High Admiral at the fore, the royal standard at the main and a union jack at the mizzen (see also ‘launching flags’ and its second note following (also ‘foremast’, ‘main’ and ‘mizzen’).

[Anchor flag]
A Royal Visit to the Fleet 1672, William van de Veld (NMM)

1) In heraldry, a coat of arms or charge formerly in use but now replaced by another design which is then termed modern such as, for example, Austria ancient and Austria modern – see ‘modern’.
2) In vexillology, a 16th/17th Century term, now wholly obsolete, for a ship’s stern mounted ensign, or military colour whether displayed ashore or afloat - an anshent or auncient (see also ‘colour 2)’, ‘deck flags)’), ‘ensign 1)’, ‘pavisade’, and ‘streamer 2)’.
3) A 16th/17th Century term, now wholly obsolete, equivalent to, and with the same duties as, the later but also obsolete army rank of ensign (see also ‘ensign 3)’ and ‘ensign 4)’).

[ancient example] [ancient example] [modern example] [English 1590 example]
Austria Ancient, Austria Modern (fotw); France Ancient, France Modern (fotw); Ancient/Ship’s Ensign, English c1590 (fotw)

See ‘antique crown 2)’ and ‘coronet 1)’.

[ancient crown example] [ancient crown example]
Arms and Flag of Reguenga, Portugal (fotw)

In English heraldry the term for a (usually but not invariably) single-masted sailing ship, regardless of specific type – an antique ship – but see notes below (also ‘lymphad’).

[ancient ship] [ancient ship] [ancient ship] [ancient ship] 
Flag and Arms of Kostrena, Croatia (fotw); Flag of Wittmund, Germany (fotw); Arms of Lisboa, Portugal (fotw)

a) A vessel with oars but more than one mast should be blazoned “galley” – see ‘galley’.
b) Single-masted Medieval sailing ships fall into a number of different categories of which two are separately defined herein under ‘cog 2)’ and ‘nef’.
c) This term can (and sometimes does) include sailing vessels with more than one mast as illustrated below – see ‘caravel’, ‘carrack’ and ‘galleon’.

[ancient ship]
Flag of Lodyeynoye Polye, Russia (fotw)

See ‘St Andrew’s cross 3)’ and its following note. 

[Russian ensign] 
Russian ensign (fotw).

Please note that Андреевский - Andreevskiĭ with alternative transliterations - is the Russian term for their naval ensign.

See ‘outrigger pole’.

angled pole

See ‘chamfered swallow-tail’.

angled pole
Guidon of the Royal Gloucestershire Yeomanry 1797, UK (fotw)

An ancient Egyptian cross-like symbol – an ankh cross or Egyptian cross (see also ‘cross tau’).

ankh cross
Flag used by the Music Group X Clan (fotw)

See also ‘commerorative flag’).

anniversary flag
Anniversary Flag commemorating the 500th year of Spanish discoveries (fotw)

The heraldic term for a ring-like charge – see ‘ring 1)’.

Warnau, Germany Warnau, Germany Suraua, Switzerland Groß Twülpstedt, Germany Groß Twülpstedt, Germany
Flag Flag and Arms of Warnau, Germany (fotw & Wikipedia); Flag of Suraua, Switzerland (fotw); Arms and Flag of Groß Twülpstedt, Germany (Wikipedia & fotw)

In heraldry see ‘in annulo’.

Wendezelle, Germany Wendezelle, Germany
Arms and Flag of the Rulers of Tuscany, 1531-1737 (Wikipedia & fotw)

See ‘ancient 2)’.

Ancient England
An Anshent/Ancient, English c1590 (fotw)

See ‘code pennant’.

Suraua, Switzerland
Code/Answering Pennant in the ICS (fotw)

A flag designed to be displayed from a vehicle’s radio antenna - see ‘car flag 2)’.

Terms, now obsolete, for the guard who precedes a standard (see also ‘standard 5)’).

Please note, it is suggested that the alternative form was used in medieval manuscripts.

A computer graphics term used to describe the technique of giving low resolution flag illustrations a smoother appearance by colouring pixels at the border between two differently coloured surfaces with intermediate shades.

1) A newly introduced term for a flag that displays (for patriotic or commercial reasons) any symbol or symbolism prior to official authorization.
2) See ‘flag of pretence’.

39-star US flag Bolivian naval ensign Comoros
39 Star Flag of the United States 1839 (fotw); Naval Ensign of Bolivia (fotw); National Flag of Comoros (fotw)  

Please note that the 39 star of the United States, for example (and illustrated above), displays a symbol in advance of any official authorization, whereas a “flag of pretence”, for example the national flag of Comoros or naval ensign of Bolivia, both show one more star than they have provinces under their control.

A term used to describe the design of those seals and emblems which do not contain (and may have been specifically designed not to contain) heraldic symbolism – for example the seals of many US states widely used on their flags, and the emblems of most former Soviet-bloc states (see also ‘allegory’, ‘heraldry’, ‘emblem 2)’, ‘pre-heraldic’, ‘seal’, ‘seal flag’ and ‘state flag 2)’).

National symbol of France Florida state seal Soviet Union Emblem 1956-1991
National Symbol of France (ICH); State Seal of Florida, US (fotw); Emblem of Soviet Union 1956 – 1991 (fotw)

Please note that this term has its origins in a rejection of heraldic symbolism and of all things having a connection to royalty or the nobility, with prominent early examples stemming from the American War of Independence and the French Revolution.

1) Generically and in Continental European heraldry see ‘coronet’).
2) Specifically in English heraldry, a type of coronet that is generally (but not exclusively) composed of a circlet with triangular rays - an ancient or Plantagenet crown.

[antique crown] [antique crown] [antique crown]
Flag of Guelph, Canada (fotw); Flag of Wellington, Canada (fotw); Flag of Newfoundland, Canada 1862 – 1872 (fotw)

In heraldry see ‘ancient ship’.

[antique ship]  [antique ship]
Ensign and Burgee of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club, UK (fotw)

In heraldry see ‘attire(s)’.

[antlers] [antlers]
Arms and Flag of Draž, Croatia (fotw)

In heraldry see ‘attired’.

[antlered] [antlered]
Arms and Flag of Heiden, Switzerland (Wikipedia & fotw)

(n & v) A method of flag manufacture in which one or more pieces of cloth are stitched on the field to form a design. This technique is often used where the design on the obverse differs from that on the reverse – but see ‘double appliqué’ and ‘single appliqué’ (see also ‘obverse’ and ‘reverse’).

1) In UK and some other military usage, that flag which corresponds to a particular position held, rather than to the rank of the officer who currently holds it - but see ‘positional flag’ (also ‘class flag’ and ‘rank flag 1)’).
2) See ‘distinguishing flag 1)’.

[appointment flag example] [appointment flag example] [appointment flag example]
Military Attaché, UK (Graham Bartram); RAF Station Commander, UK (fotw); RNZAF Officer of Air Rank Commanding a Base, New Zealand (fotw)

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