Ensign protocol

Discussion in 'The Fleet' started by bikerman, Jun 16, 2008.

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  1. Any flagwagers out there that can help me with a small question?

    What colour ensigns may be flown on yatchs I have seen blue and red, but my friend saw a yatch flying a white ensign in Cowes how come if it's not commissioned ship of the fleet?

    Cheers for any info.

    bm :worship:
  2. FlagWagger

    FlagWagger Book Reviewer

    Being out of the loop, I no longer have access to the bible, aka QRRN, however a quick Google search turned up the fact that the White Ensign can be flown by members of the Royal Yacht Squadron - see http://www.yosc.org.uk/flagetiquette.pdf for details.


  3. Royal Yacht Squadron perhaps?

    ...beaten to the punch I was...
  4. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

  5. Cheers Flagwagger helped no end. I can tell my friend now being the fount of naval knowledge in my local :thumright:
  6. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    I think RN and RNR officers (serving and retired) are entitled to fly a blue ensign instead of the Red Duster. Chapter and Verse for this anyone? So, for instance, the 'windfall' yachts at Dartmouth (pinched off Fritz in 1945) wore the blue ensign as normally being skippered by one of the BRNC staff officers.
  7. Mostly true, though I believe there are a good deal more who can fly the Blue Ensign.

    As an aside, did you know that the Red Ensign is the more senior of the three, and the White Ensign the junior?
  8. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    Members of the RNSA can fly blue ensigns.
  9. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    The Red, White and Blue Ensigns were the command flags of the admirals in charge of the various divisions (or later of a particular grade within a given rank) were. The exception to this was the white, which carried a red cross (thus becoming the flag of St George) from around 1702. The order of seniority was changed in 1653 from red, blue and white to red, white and blue (which it still is). The white ensign also had a plain fly originally, but (for tactical reasons) a wide red cross (one-third of flag width) was added overall in 1702, and this was amended to its modern dimensions in 1707.

    The system of grading admirals by colour ceased in 1864, and all admirals thereafter flew a Cross of St George as a command flag. The general addition of red balls to indicate rank came in later - the use of boat flags in other words - because of the introduction of mastless ironclads.
    Chris Southworth, 25 February 2003

    In origin there were three naval squadrons, of the Red, White and Blue, and they took these colours from those of the Union Jack. The division was made in the 1680s, if I remember correctly. Because the Red Ensigns of England and Scotland had already been established as merchant flags a Red Ensign with the Union in the canton became the merchant flag of Great Britain upon Union in 1707. This led to potential confusion - was that ship a merchantman or a member of the red squadron?

    In 1864 it was decided to end this anomaly. Henceforth the White Ensign was reserved to the Royal Navy, the Blue Ensign undefaced to the Royal Naval Reserve and defaced with the appropriate departmental or territorial badge to government service, and the Red Ensign to the 'merchant navy' (as the term is in Britain).

    United Kingdom: history of the British ensigns
  10. I am obliged to m'learned friend.
  11. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    Not yet - I'm merely studying for a Law degree; haven't qualified yet... :wink: :lol:
  12. Further to the detail supplied by SPB...

    A number of Yacht Clubs (known as privileged clubs) have the right to fly defaced blue ensigns (defaced meaning the fly shows a crest or emblam relating to the club/agency).A member of such a club may apply, through the club, for a warrant from the RN. The ensign may then be flown, in conjunction with the club's burgee, when the owner is "in effective control." IE, gone ashore for a pie and pint. If the owner is away, or the yacht is being chartered then the warrant is not valied and the red must be flown.

    RNSA members may fly an undefaced blue. The RFA, and a number of gov. agencies, have thier own defaced blue ensigns.

    The RNR now fly the white; as do the RYS as pointed out by others above.

    A few red defaced also exist - Trinity house for example. Any ship flying anything other than the plain red MUST hold an Admiralty Warrant.

    Dunkirk Little Ships hold a unique honour of flying a cross of St George (usually reserved for Admirals) with a red ensign. http://www.adls.org.uk/

    I could go on, but I expect you are loosing the will to live....
  13. Those Yachts would have worn the Blue Ensign by virtue of their being in Government service rather than because they were skippered by RN Officers, as indeed do service Sail Training Yachts today.
  15. If memory serves correctly the rules for the wearing of an ensign are in the Navy List or its Appendix.
  16. I do recall one occasion when the sail training yachts were each issued with a White ensign for use. It was probably the 50th Anniversary of the end of WWII, there were a number of events in Plymouth sound.

    There was a memo from FOSF which authorised the issue.

    Each boat was issued with two, and I've still got our spare :)
  17. If I remeber correctly the STCs at BRNC flew a Blue Ensign when skippered by an OUT as said OUT had not yet recieved his Queens Commission, but if the skipper was on of the officers from the college staff then it was a White Ensign, on the basis it was a vessel owned by the crown commanded by a naval officer.

    Mind you it was all so long ago now my malt and beer addled brain may have got it wrong.
  18. I've got no recollection of Dartmouth, but elsewhere it's always been Blue with RNSA members flying the burgee. The time I remember was to distinguish the yachts from Raleigh, Manadon, Dartmouth and Culdrose within the mass of other boats. As I recall one of the frigates was anchored just off the Hoe and all the small craft ran past it, supposedly offering up marks of respect, then had to head out past Drakes Island. One had to feel a bit sorry for the middies on the flight deck for several hours saluting :D
  19. Remember apart from BRNC and in it's day Manadon the RN had very few STCs relying often on the RNSA owned yachts.
  20. Fair point.

    The four Manadon boats went to Culdrose, Sultan, Faslane and Gibraltar as I recall.

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