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The Info List - Blue Ensign

The Blue
Blue
Ensign
Ensign
is a flag, one of several British ensigns, used by certain organisations or territories associated with the United Kingdom. It is used either plain, or defaced with a badge or other emblem. The evolution of the Blue
Blue
Ensign
Ensign
followed that of the Union Jack. The ensign originated in the 17th century with the St George's cross
St George's cross
(the Flag
Flag
of England) in the canton, and with a blue field (top right). The Acts of Union 1707
Acts of Union 1707
united England
England
and Wales
Wales
with Scotland
Scotland
in the Kingdom of Great Britain, thus producing a new Blue
Blue
Ensign
Ensign
with the new Union Flag
Flag
in the canton. With the Act of Union 1800, Ireland joined the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and St Patrick's Cross was added to the Union Flag
Flag
and, accordingly, to the cantons of all British ensigns from 1 January 1801.

The modern Blue
Blue
Ensign
Ensign
of the United Kingdom

The British Blue
Blue
Ensign
Ensign
(1707–1801)

English Blue
Blue
Ensign
Ensign
as it appeared in the seventeenth century.

Contents

1 Plain blue ensign 2 Defaced blue ensign 3 Flags of UK Overseas Territories using defaced blue ensigns 4 National flags based on the Blue
Blue
Ensign 5 Other flags based on the Blue
Blue
Ensign 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Plain blue ensign[edit] Prior to the reorganisation of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
in 1864, the plain blue ensign had been the ensign of one of three squadrons of the Royal Navy, the Blue
Blue
Squadron. This changed in 1864, when an order in council provided that the Red Ensign
Red Ensign
was allocated to merchantmen, the Blue
Blue
Ensign
Ensign
was to be the flag of ships in public service or commanded by an officer in the Royal Naval Reserve, and the White Ensign
White Ensign
was allocated to the Navy. Thus, after 1864, the plain blue ensign (i.e., without any defacement or modification) is permitted to be worn, instead of the Red Ensign, by three categories of civilian vessel:[1]

British merchant vessels whose officers and crew include a certain number of retired Royal Navy
Royal Navy
personnel or Royal Navy
Royal Navy
reservists, or are commanded by an officer of the Royal Naval Reserve
Royal Naval Reserve
in possession of a Government warrant. The number and rank of such crew members required has varied over the years, as have the additional conditions required, since the system was first introduced in 1864. Royal Research Ships by warrant[a] whether manned by former Royal Navy personnel or Merchant Navy personnel. British-registered yachts belonging to members of the following yacht clubs:

Royal Albert Yacht
Yacht
Club Royal Cinque Ports Yacht
Yacht
Club Royal Cruising Yacht
Yacht
Club Royal Dorset Yacht
Yacht
Club Royal Engineer Yacht
Yacht
Club Royal Gourock Yacht
Yacht
Club Royal Highland Yacht
Yacht
Club Royal Marine Sailing Club Royal Motor Yacht
Yacht
Club Royal Naval Club Royal Naval Sailing Association

Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Yacht
Yacht
Club Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht
Yacht
Club Royal Scottish Motor Yacht
Yacht
Club Royal Solent Yacht
Yacht
Club Royal Southern Yacht
Yacht
Club Royal Temple Yacht
Yacht
Club Royal Thames Yacht
Yacht
Club Royal Welsh Yacht
Yacht
Club Royal Western Yacht
Yacht
Club of England Royal Western Yacht
Yacht
Club of Scotland Sussex Motor Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Brighton Yacht
Yacht
Club, Australia Royal Geelong Yacht
Yacht
Club, Australia Royal Melbourne Yacht
Yacht
Club, Australia Royal Perth Yacht
Yacht
Club of Western Australia, Australia Royal Queensland
Queensland
Yacht
Yacht
Club, Australia Royal South Australia
Australia
Yacht
Yacht
Club, Australia Royal Sydney Yacht
Yacht
Squadron, Australia Royal Yacht
Yacht
Club of Tasmania, Australia Royal Yacht
Yacht
Club of Victoria, Australia Royal New Zealand
New Zealand
Yacht
Yacht
Squadron, New Zealand Royal Port Nicholas Yacht
Yacht
Club, New Zealand

Permission for yachts to wear the blue ensign (and other special yachting ensigns) was suspended during both World War I
World War I
and World War II. Defaced blue ensign[edit] Since 1864, the Blue
Blue
Ensign
Ensign
is defaced with a badge or emblem, to form the ensign of United Kingdom
United Kingdom
government departments or public bodies. Current defaced Blue
Blue
Ensigns (besides yacht clubs listed below) are:

Aberdeen Harbour Board

British Antarctic Survey

British Telecom
British Telecom
and Cable and Wireless

Combined Cadet Force

Department of Trade and Industry

General Post Office

Global Marine Systems's cable-ships

Government Service Ensign

Her Majesty's Army Vessels

Her Majesty's Coastguard

Irish Lights

Lloyd's of London

Marine Society

Mersey Docks and Harbour Company

Metropolitan Police

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Ministry of Defence Police

Ministry of War Munitions

Northern Lighthouse Board

Ocean Weather Service

Ordnance Board

Pacific Cables Board

Port of London Authority

Royal Army Service Corps

Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
Divers

Royal Engineers

Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service

Royal Hospital School

Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service

Royal Ulster Constabulary

Scottish Office Agriculture and Fisheries Department

Sea Cadet Corps

Submarine Mining Service

UK Border Agency

Yachting Blue
Blue
Ensigns defaced by the badge of the club were recorded in the Navy List until 1985, and now they are administered by the Royal Yachting Association for the Ministry of Defence. Current defaced Blue
Blue
Ensigns are:

Aldeburgh Yacht
Yacht
Club

Army Sailing Association

Bar Yacht
Yacht
Club

City Livery Yacht
Yacht
Club

Cruising Association

House of Lords Yacht
Yacht
Club

Household Division Yacht
Yacht
Club

Little Ship Club

Medway Cruising Club

Medway Yacht
Yacht
Club

Old Worcesters Yacht
Yacht
Club

Parkstone Yacht
Yacht
Club

Poole Yacht
Yacht
Club

Poole Harbour Yacht
Yacht
Club

Portsmouth Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Air Force Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Anglesey Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Armoured Corps Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Artillery Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Burnham Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Channel Islands Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Corinthian Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Cornwall Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Dee Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Forth Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Harwich Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Gibraltar Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal London Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Mersey Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal North of Ireland Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Northumberland Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Ocean Racing Club

Royal Plymouth Corinthian Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Southampton Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Torbay Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Ulster Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Welsh Yacht
Yacht
Club

Royal Yorkshire Yacht
Yacht
Club

Severn Motor Yacht
Yacht
Club

Sussex Yacht
Yacht
Club

Thames Motor Yacht
Yacht
Club

Flags of UK Overseas Territories using defaced blue ensigns[edit] Current flags:

Flag
Flag
of Anguilla Government Ensign
Ensign
of Bermuda (the flag commonly used on land is Bermuda's Red Ensign) Flag
Flag
of the British Virgin Islands Flag
Flag
of the Cayman Islands Flag
Flag
of the Falkland Islands Government Ensign
Ensign
of Gibraltar (there is another flag, not based on an ensign, that is commonly used on land) Flag
Flag
of Montserrat Flag
Flag
of Pitcairn Islands Flag
Flag
of Saint Helena Flag
Flag
of Turks and Caicos Islands

Former flags: The defaced blue ensign was formerly used as:

The jack of the Royal Canadian Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
from its inception until the adoption of the Maple Leaf flag in 1965.[2] The blue ensign was approved by the British Admiralty
Admiralty
in 1868 for use by ships owned by the Canadian government.

Blue
Blue
Ensign
Ensign
worn as a jack by the Royal Canadian Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
1921–1957 (with green maple leaves in the shield)

Blue
Blue
Ensign
Ensign
worn as a jack by the Royal Canadian Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
1957–1965 (with red maple leaves in the shield)

The ensign (1879–1928) and the jack (1928–1947) of the Royal Indian Navy (HM Indian Marine: 1879–1892, Royal Indian Marine: 1892–1934, Royal Indian Navy: 1934–1950):

Blue
Blue
Ensign
Ensign
worn as an ensign (1879–1928) and a jack (1928–1947) of the Royal Indian Navy[3]

Flag
Flag
of The United States of the Ionian Islands
United States of the Ionian Islands
(a British amical protectorate, 1815–1864) Flag
Flag
of British Hong Kong
British Hong Kong
(1870–1997) and the ensign of the Royal Hong Kong Police Force were based on the Blue
Blue
Ensign. Flag
Flag
of Weihaiwei (1903–1930).

National flags based on the Blue
Blue
Ensign[edit] These include:

Flag
Flag
of Australia

Flag
Flag
of New South Wales Flag
Flag
of Queensland Flag
Flag
of South Australia Flag
Flag
of Tasmania Flag
Flag
of Victoria Flag
Flag
of Western Australia

Flag
Flag
of Fiji
Fiji
(light blue) Flag
Flag
of New Zealand

Flag
Flag
of the Cook Islands

Flag
Flag
of Tuvalu
Tuvalu
(light blue)

Other flags based on the Blue
Blue
Ensign[edit]

Flag
Flag
of Ceylon Ensign
Ensign
of The Royal Hospital School George Rex Flag Tanganyika Territory
Tanganyika Territory
blue ensign

See also[edit]

British ensign Australian flag debate New Zealand
New Zealand
flag debate Green Ensign Red Ensign White Ensign Ensign

References[edit]

Notes

^ An individual warrant is issued by the Secretary of State for Defence for each ship

Footnotes

^ Naval Staff Directorate. "Naval Flags and Ensigns" (PDF). p. 12. Retrieved 1 January 2013.  ^ "Flags of the Royal Canadian Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
1910–1965".  ^ Flags of the World: British India

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Blue
Blue
ensigns.

Blue
Blue
Ensign
Ensign
page on the "Flags of the World" website UK, Naval, Government, Yacht
Yacht
clubs on flags.net

v t e

Flags of the United Kingdom

United Kingdom

  Flag
Flag
of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(1801–present)

Countries of the United Kingdom

  England   Scotland   Wales  Northern Ireland

Banners

  Royal Standard of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(1801–present)   Royal Standard of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
in Scotland (1801–present)   Royal Banner of Scotland
Scotland
(1222–present)

Historic

  Flag
Flag
of Great Britain (1707–1801)   Royal Standard of Great Britain (1707–1801)   Royal Banner of England
England
(1198–1707)   Flags used during the Interregnum (1649–1660)   Royal Standard of Ireland (1541–1800)   Ireland within the UK (1801–1922)   Northern Ireland (1953–1972)

Ensigns

  Blue
Blue
Ensign   Red Ensign   White Ensign   Green Ensign   Royal Air Force Ensign   Civi