Red Ensign and the Royal Navy

glenn
15th September 2005, 18:50
Can anyone tell me why HMS ships flew the red duster and when they switched over to the white ensign thanks ........ see HMS Warrior in my Gallery (Thumb)

fred henderson
15th September 2005, 20:30
Nowadays, ships intended for the RN fly the Red Ensign when they are still in the hands of the builders and until they are first commissioned. In Nelson's time the fleet was so large that it was arranged in divisions, red,white and blue and RN ships flew the ensign appropriate to the division. Presumably HMS Warrior left the RN at some stage and was in the hands of the restoration people in Hartlepool, in which event she would fly the Red Ensign.

Fred

lakercapt
15th September 2005, 21:18
The "Bounty" of Captain Bligh fame also flew the red ensign.
He was a much malinged person as he was one oof the first to adopt the three watch systeme and he did for most part have his crews best interests at heart.
Was recently watching the "Hornblower "series on TV and the navel ships were flying the red & blue ensigns. I was under the impression that the Capatin had to be RN reserve and also some of the crew for that to happen Have the rules changed?

Santos
15th September 2005, 22:15
Glen,

Originally there were three Royal Navy 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, 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 confusion as to whether the ship was a merchantman or a member of the red squadron?

In 1864 it was decided to end this confusion. As a result 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'.


Chris.

lakercapt
16th September 2005, 03:06
Thanks Chris
Knew I was bound to find an answer with all the knowlege accumulated in this site.
Bill

Doug Rogers
16th September 2005, 03:39
We have three vessels that I am aware of in Oz that still fly the White Ensign, two in Sydney and one in Fremantle. They are technically still in commission as special dispensations were made for them. We may have a few more, I know of a number of naval vessels still extant but am not sure what flag they can actually fly.
And as an aside, its also impressive the number of people who actually still salute the flag when boarding and departing even though they have long departed the Navy.

Gulpers
16th September 2005, 06:35
Santos,

Excellent explanation and absolutely spot-on!

Gulpers

Doug Rogers
16th September 2005, 08:53
Count me in on that group please Ernest...

glenn
17th September 2005, 10:12
Thanks Guys an endless seam of information Glad were still open for bussisnes

Bruce Carson
17th September 2005, 15:06
Often, ships of the British merchant marine had the privilege of flying the Blue Ensign rather than the Red Duster. The numbers varied throughout the years, but if the captain and a certain number of the officers and crew were members of the RNVR, the ship was accorded that honour, which was looked upon as a mark of distinction.

Bruce C.

Santos
17th September 2005, 21:35
Whilst this thread is still active and we have such an international membership, I just thought I might also pass on a bit of history I discovered some time ago, about the origin of the Ensigns and some National Flags.

As I previous stated in the 17th & 18th Century the Royal Navy was divided into three Squadrons, the Red, the White and the Blue.

They were allotted patrol areas and so the Red Squadron patrolled the Caribbean and the North Altantic, the Blue Squadron patrolled the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean and the South Atlantic and the White Squadron looked after the British Isles, the French coast and the Mediterranean.

Now here is the interesting bit. The National Flags of British Colonies, now independant countries in their own right, more often than not have incorporated the same colour as the Squadron that protected them. For example New Zealand and Australia have Blue and Bermuda has Red.

Just thought I would mention it. (Thumb)

Chris.

John Rogers
17th September 2005, 21:51
I would like to add that two years ago I was trying to buy a Red Duster from a flag shop here in the states,they had none in stock so they ordered me one, when it arrived I opened the box and looked at it and there was something wrong with it,it didn't look right. I went on the internet to get the history of the flag and low and behold they had sent me the old British Colonial flag which was a forerunner of the Red Duster. I took it back and tried again,no luck so I had a friend in Cardiff buy one for me and send it to me and I raised for the first time on MN day this year.
John

Gulpers
17th September 2005, 21:57
Good man John in the USA. Your perseverence paid off. Greetings from North Wales.

Rgds,

Gulpers

Bruce Carson
17th September 2005, 22:13
An unusual British ensign with a nautical flavour which is still in use is the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses Commisioners flag. The (semi?) Union Flag in the canton omits the St. Patrick's Cross.
You look at the flag and you know something is missing but it takes a second or two to notice the omission of the red saltire.
http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/gb-lthse.html#cnlc

Bruce C.

John Rogers
18th September 2005, 02:18
Thank you Gulpers. Yes when I opened the box I knew it was the wrong flag because the white back round in the union jack was missing. What they sold me was the Red Ensign of the years 1707 thru 1801. But until the store owner and myself checked the internet I thought they had made a mistake in making it. Its was the Right flag for the wrong century. John

rstimaru
23rd September 2005, 20:28
People talk about the red ensign i never sailed under it, I allway,s sailed under the blue ensign, With Cunard and Elder Dempster

Pat McCardle
27th September 2005, 22:01
The "Bounty" of Captain Bligh fame also flew the red ensign.
He was a much malinged person as he was one oof the first to adopt the three watch systeme and he did for most part have his crews best interests at heart.
Was recently watching the "Hornblower "series on TV and the navel ships were flying the red & blue ensigns. I was under the impression that the Capatin had to be RN reserve and also some of the crew for that to happen Have the rules changed?

Bounty flew the Red Ensign as Bligh did not have a commision, he was a Master not commander.

trotterdotpom
28th September 2005, 12:32
Now here is the interesting bit. The National Flags of British Colonies, now independant countries in their own right, more often than not have incorporated the same colour as the Squadron that protected them. For example New Zealand and Australia have Blue and Bermuda has Red.

Just thought I would mention it. (Thumb)

Chris.[/QUOTE]

Could this be a coincidence, Chris?

The Australian national flag came about as the result of a competition in 1901. The first flag was similar to today's but there were civil and governent versions, red and blue backgrounds respectively.

On the original version, the Federation Star had six points, representing the five states and one Territory. In 1906, Australia acquired the colony of Papua New Guinea and a seventh state was added. When the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra) came into being they didn't add to the star (good job as PNG was eventually lost, of course).

Presumeably, the reason Australian Merchant ships now fly the Australian Red Ensign is because of it's initial use for civil purposes. The Royal Australian Navy have the national flag with a white background and blue stars - the Australian White Ensign.

The Australian National flag, with dark blue background, was not actually gazetted until 1954 when the Menzies government passed an act of parliament.

It's interesting that other Commonwealth countries have persisted with the 'Red Engsign' tradition - New Zealand, India, Pakistan (I think), any others?

John T.

froggie
4th October 2005, 17:08
WARRIOR is no longer a commissioned Royal Navy ship she is a museum exhibit and no longer entitled to wear the White Ensign. VICTORY is still a commissioned RN ship and is the flagship of the C in C Portsmouth and wears the White Ensign.

from froggie

Hawkeye
23rd November 2006, 15:13
Hi
WARRIOR is no longer a commissioned Royal Navy ship she is a museum exhibit and no longer entitled to wear the White Ensign. VICTORY is still a commissioned RN ship and is the flagship of the C in C Portsmouth and wears the White Ensign.

from froggie

Is the Belfast still in commission? I thought she was a museum ship. Same with the Plymouth and the others that were at Liverpool.
Another sippet of info I've seen. One of the Australian museum ships had to get special permission to continue to fly the White ensign. Does this apply to the above ships?


Regards
Karl

James_C
23rd November 2006, 15:43
Belfast still flies the White Ensign, even though she's owned by the Imperial War Museum. They were probably granted dispensation. I think 'Cavalier' down at Chatham also sports a White Ensign.
Re HMS Warrior, I was led to believe that the reason she flies the Red Ensign is because when she came into service in 1861 (circa) she actually belonged to the Red Squadron, hence the ensign. Of course, that changed a couple of years later with the changeover to white.

Paedrig
23rd November 2006, 18:26
You are quite right "Cavalier" flies the White Ensign.

Keith Adams
23rd November 2006, 19:46
I sailed under Red and Blue but felt more proud of the Red Ensign...still do,
and thanks to an ex Blu-Flu friend; I sport a Red Ensign Flag sticker on the rear
window of my pick-up truck. Also wear an MN pin in my lapel. Snowy.

eldersuk
23rd November 2006, 20:27
rstmaru

If you sailed under the Blue Ensign with Elder Dempster you must have been with Captain Derek Coughlan D.S.O. As far as I know he was the only one entitled to fly it in (fairly) recent years. However, I would be interested to learn if there was another Master entitled.

Derek

Stephen J. Card
28th November 2006, 20:01
Re HMS Warrior, I was led to believe that the reason she flies the Red Ensign is because when she came into service in 1861 (circa) she actually belonged to the Red Squadron, hence the ensign. Of course, that changed a couple of years later with the changeover to white.



James,

You are 100% spot on with this.... I've done the research before.

My grandfather was a Stoker R.N. and served for a brief period in the WARRIOR in the late 1890's. He was later with Cmdr. Evans in H.M.S. BROKE on the Channel patrols and then the Battle of Jutland. Also made it to Scapa Flow when the High Seas Fleet was escorted into internment.

Stephen