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New Flags for Ships


8 Aug 1842
Hampshire Telegraph
The Lords of the Admiralty have directed that Members of the Southampton Royal Yacht Club shall hereafter wear the Blue Ensign of Her Majesty's fleet, the Crown and Borough Arms to be emblazoned thereon. The club has hitherto carried the white ensign.

History of the Indian Navy - Low 1613-1863 Vol II
On the 2nd of February, 1848, Commodore Plumridge arrived from England to relieve Commodore Sir Henry Blackwood, who proceeded home in the Fox. On the 23rd of the same month, Rear-Admiral S. H. Inglefield, C.B., Commander-in-chief of H.M.'s ships in India, whose flag-ship, the Vernon, lay in the harbour, died at Bombay, and was temporarily succeeded by Commodore Plumridge to the high command. The gallant officer signalized his brief assumption of power, by denying the right of the Commander-in-chief of the Indian Navy to fly the broad pennant of the Royal Navy, notwithstanding the Warrant of His Royal Highness the Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom his late Majesty King William IV. dated the 12th of June, 1827, by which the ships of the Bombay Marine were "granted the privilege of wearing the Union Jack, and a long pendant having St George's cross on a white field in the upper part next the mast, with a red fly."

A correspondence ensued, and, on the matter being referred to the Admiralty, it was decided, in order to soothe the susceptibilities of officers of the type of mind of Commodore Plumridge, that the broad pennant of the Commander-in-chief of the Indian Navy was to be a red flag with a yellow cross, and the Company's cognizance of a yellow lion and crown in the upper canton nearest the staff. The Commodore of the Persian Gulf, being of the second class, was allowed a similar flag with a blue field.

9 Jul 1864
Under the Regulations established by Your Majesty's Order in Council of the 25th day of July, 1861, for the governance of the Royal Naval Service, the Flag Officers of the Fleet, whether Admirals, Vice-Admirals, or Rear-Admirals, are classed in Squadrons of the Red, White, and Blue, and are (with the exception of the Admiral of the Fleet) authorized to fly their flags of the colour of the Squadron to which they belong, this regulation necessitating the adoption of ensigns and pendants of a corresponding colour in every ship and vessel employed under their orders, each vessel is therefore supplied with three sets of colours, and the frequent alterations that have to he made when the Fleet is distributed as at present, under the Orders of many Flag Officers, is attended with much inconvenience from the uncertainty and expense which the system entails.

The increased number and size of merchant steam-ships render it a matter of importance to distinguish on all occasions men-of-war from private ships by a distinctive flag; the latter vessels bearing at present the same red ensign as Your Majesty's ships when employed under an Admiral of the Red Squadron. It also appears to us to be desirable to grant (under such conditions as we may from time to time impose) the use of a distinguishing flag to such ships of the merchant service as may be employed in the public service, or whose commanding officer (with a given portion of the crew) may belong to the Royal Naval Reserve. We therefore most humbly submit that Your Majesty may be pleased by your Order in Council to prescribe the discontinuance of the division of Flag Officers into the Red, White, and Blue Squadrons, and to order and direct that the White Ensign, with its broad and narrow pendants, be henceforward established and recognized as the colours of the Royal Naval Service, reserving the use of the Red and Blue colours for such special occasions as may appear to us or to officers in command of Fleets and Squadrons to require their adoption: the White flag with a Red St. George's Cross to be borne by Admirals. Vice-Admirals, and Rear-Admirals on their respective masts: Commodores of the first class to carry a White broad pendant with the Red Cross at the maintop-gallant masthead, Commodores of the second class a similar broad pendant at the fore-top-gallant-mast-head, and senior officers when two or more vessels are present to bear the broad pennant at the mizen-top-gallant-mast-head. The Blue Ensign and Union Jack, with a White border, to be carried by all vessels employed in the service of any public office; by vessels employed under the Transport Department, and the Civil Departments of the Navy (with the Seal or Badge of the office to which they belong as at present), and, under our permission, by ships commanded by Officers of the Royal Naval Reserve Force, and fulfilling in other respects the conditions required to entitle them to the privilege. The Red Ensign and Union Jack, with a White border, continuing as at present the national colours for all British ships, with such exceptions in favour of Yachts and other vessels as we may from time to time authorize to bear distinguishing flags.


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