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Flag and Ensign Dimensions


BANYAN
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Hi folks,

 

I am starting to research the appropriate flags to fly from my HM Bark Endeavour (c1770) depicted  in harbour - so Ensign to be flown from ensign staff aft, andUnion Flag (Jack) from the jack staff fwd.

 

From other discussions in this forum I have established the correct ensign to fly (as shown below):

 

post-385-0-77777800-1451948010.gif

 

I am assuming the design of the Jack will be the same as depicted in the top left corner of the Ensign - that is, NO red diagonal cross?

 

From the CRW Flags website  and BR 20 (thanks for the links in your other postings Beef Wellington) I have been able to determine that the appropriate ratios for size (width : length) is:

1:2 for the Ensign, and

3:5 for the Jack

 

What I am trying to establish however is whether there is a standard/rule for the actual size of the flags (per ship rate/size) etc?  What would be the actual size for the Endeavour to fly?

 

Any help will be most welcomed.

 

cheers

 

Pat

Edited by BANYAN
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Ensigns appear to be about 2/3 the length of the staff that they were flown on. If you know the length of the staff, that will give you the depth of the ensign. You already have the length/breadth ratios, so....

 

Check contemporary paintings to confirm this.

Edited by druxey
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Pat,

 

Your assumption, regarding the design for the jack and that in the ensign, is correct. The diagonal St Patrick's cross was not incorporated into the Union flag until 1801, when Ireland became part of the Union of Great Britain. When added the cross was offset from the centre of the white diagonal – indeed the jack as we know it was designed so as to not upset, as far as possible, the sensibilities of the other nations of the Union.

 

I'm not sure it worked 100%! :huh:

Edited by Stockholm tar
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One rule of thumb is that a warship's largest ensign, in the fly (the long dimension) is equal to the extreme breadth of the vessel, the hoist being in proportion to that depending on the time period.  They got longer or less square with time.  The jack would be the same size as the union on the largest ensign.  They carried several sizes of ensign, the smaller ones being equal in the fly to the next largest in the hoist.

That all sounds pretty complicated but it was more complex even that that as the sizes were based on 'breadths' of cloth, and suits of flags were issued to each ship in more or less standard sizes which might or might not exactly match the guidelines, and this is all RN practice, not particularly universal though the RN served as a pattern for many.

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Thanks all, appreciate the feedback and pointers.

 

I think the best estimate I can make is to follow Druxey's advice and base it on the visual evidence of conntemporarty paintings, drawings and models which equates to the 'hoist' being approx. 2/3rds the length of the staff.  Once I have calculated this for my model (at 1:60) I'll see if Model flags has an existing size (they do 10 sizes of the Red Ensign for this period, so I should get something fairly close (I hope) :)  Once of have established this size I will order a jack that equates to the same size as that used in the selected ensign.

 

Thanks again all.

 

Pat

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Not to be a brat, here is a picture of Resolution and Discovery by Cleveley.

2 things to note.  The ensign is fairly large, more than 2/3 of the staff.  This may be the extreme breadth size.  At anchor the normal size would have been one of the smaller ones, I believe, but there is this picture.

In any event, the Jack would have been sized from the largest flag carried, so half the extreme breadth in the fly.

The theory of the largest size was to have it recognizable from some miles away.  Even if it was not clear in the glass, the basic color arrangement would be and you could tell friend from foe at several miles.

 

post-17589-0-29188000-1452122554.jpg

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This painting in the RMG (misidentified on their web site!) shows ensign and jack clearly. The correct description is given below:

 

An 18th-century Royal Naval brigantine, flying the red ensign, a Union jack at the bow and the pendant of a ship on independent command. It is off the coast, which can be seen on the far left. The ship is a two-masted, square-rigged 10-gun sloop of war in port-broadside view, with a figurehead at the bow. The mainmast carries a lateen driver, furled to the lowered lateen yard. To the left, three officials are being rowed out to the ship, where men on deck prepare to meet them. Two other vessels in full sail can be seen in the distance to the left. The painting has been signed and dated 1752. Cleveley was a professional shipwright, who worked in Deptford Dockyard, as well as a painter. He was an early exhibitor at the Free Society of Artists in London and two of his three sons, John Cleveley the Younger and his twin brother Robert Cleveley, also became painters.

post-635-0-35087300-1452126753_thumb.jpg

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Hi again all.  Thanks for the pointer to the painting jbshan.  On closer inspection I think it does accord with Druxey's observations.  I found a higher res of the painting at

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:John_Cleveley_the_Younger,_HMS_Resolution_and_Discovery_in_Tahiti.jpg

 

The foot of the hoist appears to be in exactly the same sort of relative position to the rail as RMG painting?

 

edit:  oops - on review (zoomed) it appears this Ensignis larger in physical size BUT... it is being flown from from the gaff halyard and not the Ensign Staff.

 

I think, for my purpose​, that the proposed rule-of-thumb will suffice?

 

cheers

 

Pat

Edited by BANYAN
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi again all,

 

Following up on the above discussion, I found a reference (Marquardt) that suggests that the length of the ensign staff above the taffrail is 1/3 the height of the Main Mast (Endeavour = 24yds 4 ").  This is 868" or 22047mm.

 

That would make the ensign staff length above the taffrail = 122.48mm at scale 1:60.  Using the rule of thumb suggested by Druxey is the hoist appears to be about 2/3 this length, then this would translate to 80.65mm length of hoist for the Ensign.

 

Therefore ,the Ensign at scale 1:60 would be (at 3:5) 80.65 hoist x 134.42 fly.

 

Can anyone find any error in this calculation?  Marquardt did not cite his source for earlier 'rule' but I will continue to research.

 

cheers

 

Pat

Edited by BANYAN
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