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White flag


Kurt Johnson
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I'm doing some research for the French naval cutter Le Cerf 1779-1780. I am trying to figure out which flag would be most appropriate for her. I've found out that French ships of the line at that time flew an all white ensign ( could things get any easier?). Would this also be appropriate for something as small as a cutter?

 

Kurt

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Was't this one. Cerf was not at Flamborough Head as far as I can figure. It was charged with going after a boat of deserters 

from Jones in August the month before and was separated from Jones at the time. (I would never associate with scoundrels). I just want to know if the White Ensign is correct ( White for Purity, not ignoble surrender). You do me great harm sir, my second will make all the required arrangements. Adeau.

 

Kurt

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Guest bearegalleon

Kurt, take a look at the "Flags of the World" website if you can.  The white flag, associated with the Royal Navy of France, and a symbol of Louis, is listed with historic naval flags and something like that should be suitable.  You could also check the NMM website for contemporary paintings of battles involving French ships.   

 

http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/fr~mon.html

 

 

(Interestingly, some sources describe a white flag with the new tricolor in the upper corner, used in the 1790-94 period.  Sort of a transitional design from the early Directory.)

 

A lot of Cerf models show a black hull but I wonder, especially for the 1770s-80s era.  A tarred, unpainted hull, or one that was painted with yellow ochre, along with black wales, typical trim and that polychrome stern carving would seem more typical of trends in the largely pre-Napoleanic eighties.  

Edited by bearegalleon
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Kurt, 

Back to the ensign... everything I can find from the period, from the largest to the smallest in the French fleet flew the same ensign.  Later on, it becomes a bit of gray area in what the ships flew although everything points to the plain white until the French Revolution.  At the time of the Belle Poule fight, both frigates and support ships flew the white.  JPJ had his own flag as the BR wasn't "officially" a French ship.  I'm not sure if the escorts for JPJ flew his ensign or the French.   

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Thanks Mark, That's pretty much the conclusion I came to. Somewhere I read that for smaller ships it wasn't definite and that's where my question arose. Now I have to decide on the pendant. I know that's 90 percent white, but on some it shows the beginning portion has some decoration, possibly a fleur-de-lis.

 

 

Kurt

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