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Dictionary of Vexillology: C (Combatant - Compony Counter-Company)

Last modified: 2024-06-08 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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The heraldic term which can be used when two beasts of prey (usually, but not invariably, lions) are shown facing each other – but see ‘respectant’ (also ‘affrontant’).

[combatant example] [combatant example] [combatant example]
Flag of Leuzigen, Switzerland (fotw); Arms of Mire de Tibães, Portugal (fotw); Flag of Laranjeiro, Portugal (fotw)

The terms which may be used to describe a flag or flag-like image that is usually intended to illustrate unity between those countries allied in an armed conflict – a combination flag or standard – but see ‘patchwork flag 1)’ (also ‘linguistic flags 1)’).

Allies flag
Flag showing the Allies in the Great War c1914 (fotw)

See ‘flag of command’.

Croatian command flag  Croatian command flag  Croatian command flag
Command Flags/Flags of Command of an Admiral, Vice Admiral and Rear-Admiral, Croatia (fotw).

1) In naval usage, a generally triangular and/or swallow-tailed pennant flown at sea that, unlike a flag of command, broad pennant or burgee command pennant, does not replace the masthead pennant but which signifies an officer in command of other ships who is below the rank of commodore – a group command pennant, flotilla command pennant, senior officer’s pennant, squadron command pennant and others (see also ‘broad pennant’, ‘broad command pennant’, ‘burgee command pennant’, ‘flag of command’, ‘masthead pennant 1)’, ‘private ship’ and ‘senior officer afloat pennant’).
2) In US usage, the command pennant of a unit equivalent to the above but of aviation or marine forces.

[command pennant] [command pennant] [command pennant]
Squadron Command Pennants: UK (fotw); Denmark (fotw); Flotilla Command Pennant: The Netherlands (fotw)

With regard to 1) - not to be confused with the senior officer afloat pennant which (certainly in the case NATO and related services, and of countries whose navy bases its traditions on those of the RN) is only flown whilst alongside or in harbour.
b) A distinction has been drawn between the standard masthead pennant flown by commissioned warships (occasionally called a pennant of command), and the command pennants as defined above that are flown subordinate to it.
c) Further to 1), in the former Austro-Hungarian Navy and in some others, the practice of hoisting a command pennant with (or without) the hoist being stiffened by a frame was itself indicative of rank - see ‘frame 2)’.

Command pennant example Command pennant example

See ‘banner 5)’.

[commendation banner example]
C-in-C’s Commendation Banner, Canada (fotw)

See ‘award flag’.

[commendation flag example]
Navy Unit Commendation Pennant, US (Seaflags)

A flag made to celebrate or to mark a particular occasion, such as an anniversary, holiday or international congress - an anniversary, event or occasional flag (see also ‘celebratory flag’ and ‘memorial flag’).

[Queens golden jubliee flag] [WW2 US commemorative flag] [commemorative flag]
Golden Jubilee of HM The Queen 2002, UK (fotw); WWII Commemorative Flag, US (fotw); IAF 60th Anniversary Flag (fotw)

See ‘flag case 2)’.

The system which replaced Marryat’s code, and in use from 1866 – 1880 when it was superseded by the international code – see ‘International Code of Signal Flags’ and ‘Marryat's Code’.

[commerical flag example] [commerical flag example] [commerical flag example]
TZQ in the 1866 Commercial Code of Signals (fotw)

1. See ‘house flag 1)’ and ‘corporate flag’.
2. In UK usage a term, now obsolete, sometimes used in place of (and referring only to) a country’s Merchant Flag or Civil Ensign – see ‘Civil Ensign’,

[commerical flag example] [commerical flag example] [commerical flag example]
House Flag of Allantone Supplies Ltd., UK (fotw); Flag of Associated Portland Cement Manufactures Ltd, UK (fotw); Commercial Flag/Civil Ensign, Spain 1785-1927 (fotw)

See ‘logo’.

[commerical flag example]
Flag of McDonalds, Worldwide (fotw)

See ‘masthead pennant 1)’. see supplemental note

[commissioning pennant]
Commissioning/Masthead Pennant, Canada (fotw)

See ‘broad pennant 2)’.

[commodore's broad pennant]
Commodore’s Broad Pennant, Pakistan (fotw)

In English then British RN usage, now obsolete, a commissioning or masthead pennant (often seen) with a split tricolour fly, that was introduced in 1661, and flown (together with a red ensign) until c1850 by warships sailing under Admiralty orders -an ordinary, or tricolour pendant, or a pendant of independent command – see ‘masthead pennant 1)’ (also ‘man o'war pendant’ and ‘red ensign 2)’ and union pendant).

[common pendant]
The Common/Tricolour Pendant, England then UK 1661 – c1850 (fotw)

a) Display of a common/tricolour pendent became (or was designed as) a visual indication that the vessel wearing it was under Admiralty orders and (therefore) not subject to the authority of any local flag officer whether of the red, white or the blue – see ‘distinction of colour’, however;
b) There is evidence to suggest that, when introduced, its use was less restricted than became the practice later.

Small additional colours carried by foot regiments of the British and Canadian Brigade of Guards, and a survival of the general 16th/17th Century practice of carrying a colour for each company in a regiment – camp colours or silks (see also ‘camp colour 1)’, ‘colour 2)’, ‘colours 2)’, ‘postures’, ‘stand of colours 1)’ and ‘venn’).

1st Battalion of The Irish Guards Governor General’s Foot Guards
Company Colour, No 1 Company, 1st Battalion of The Irish Guards, UK (Graham Bartram); No 2 Company, Governor General’s Foot Guards, Canada (Official Website)

Please note that, while ten was the theoretic maximum, and six or seven the more usual, a regimental stand of nine colours was not unknown for an English regiment of foot in the mid-17th Century.

See ‘corporate flag’.

[company flag example]
Flag of BOAC, UK (fotw)

1) In heraldry, the symbolic base upon which a shield and supporters may rest in a full set of armorial bearings– but compare with ‘coupeau’ and ‘mount’ (see also ‘Appendix IV’, ‘armorial bearings’, ‘shield’ and ‘coat of arms’).
2) On flags see 'cartouche 2)'.

[compartment example] [compartment example] [compartment example]
National Arms 1932 - 2000, South Africa (fotw); National Arms, Tanzania (fotw); National Arms, the Bahamas (fotw)

1) In the International Code of Signals, two or more flags or pennants added to a basic signal to give clarity or precision to the message (see also ‘international code of signal flags, ‘international code of signals’ and ‘signal flag’).
2) In heraldry a full moon – see ‘moon 2)’ with following note.

In heraldry see ‘armorial bearings’ and ‘achievement of arms’.

[Cambridge] [Duke of Wellington arms] [Bexley]
Flag of Cambridge, UK (fotw; Arms of the Dukes of Wellington, UK (Wikipedia); Flag of Bexley, UK (fotw)

See ‘courtesy flag’.

The heraldic term used when an ordinary or a border is composed of squares (or occasionally rectangles) in alternating tinctures – gobony, gobone or gobonated (see also ‘counter-compony’, ‘ordinary’ and ‘tincture’).

Estévenens, Switzerland
Flag of Estévenens, Switzerland (fotw)

In heraldry see ‘counter-compony’.

[combatant example] 
Flag of Zeihen, Switzerland (fotw)

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