KINGDOM OF BELGIUM
 

 
NAVAL ENSIGNS & FLAGS    1914-40
 

The Belgian Navy's status as a branch of the armed forces was always precarious. Few people thought that Belgium needed a navy at all and though one was established in 1831 it languished for lack of funding. The control of the Navy was passed from ministry to ministry; such ships as it possessed were mostly converted merchant vessels and small watercraft. The Navy's mission were restricted to fishery protection and, in wartime, support of the Army. Only in 1917 was a serious effort made to create a naval combat force in the form of a torpedo boat flotilla. After the Great War the Belgian Navy languished again and it was actually abolished in 1926, its ships being sold or scrapped and its men going to the Army. In 1936, however, with another war impending, the Navy was reconstituted. The Naval Corps, as it was now called, was charged with coastal patrol, minesweeping and Army support. Most of its ships were requisitioned tugs, fishing vessels, etc. The Naval Corps participated in the 1940 campaign and was withdrawn to Britain when the Germans occupied Belgium. There it was disbanded, the men being reassigned to the Army. Later a Belgian Section of the Royal Navy was established and enough men were found eventually to man two corvettes, but these served under the British ensign.

Most Belgian naval ensigns and flags of the period were based on the national flag. At first a plain tricolor served as the naval ensign but a distinctive ensign was adopted in 1936. The 1914-36 rank flags were used by both naval and army flag officers. The naval reserve ensign adopted in 1936 could be flown by merchant vessels whose masters and a certain percentage of their crew were enrolled in the Reserve of the Naval Corps.

See also CURRENT BELGIAN NAVAL ENSIGNS & FLAGS.

 



 

FLAGS USED 1914-36

 

NATIONAL ENSIGN & NAVAL JACK

 

COMMISSIONING PENNANT

 

LIEUTENANT-ADMIRAL & GENERAL OF ARMY

 

VICE-ADMIRAL & GENERAL OF ARMY CORPS

 

REAR-ADMIRAL & GENERAL OF DIVISION

 

GENERAL OF BRIGADE

 

NAVAL OFFICER IN COMMAND

 

SENIOR OFFICER

 

FLAGS USED 1936-40

 

NAVAL ENSIGN

 

NAVAL JACK

 

COMMISSIONING PENNANT

 

NAVAL RESERVE ENSIGN

 

DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE NAVY

 

TERRITORIAL NAVAL COMMANDER

 

SQUADRON COMMANDER

 

SENIOR OFFICER
 

 

OFFICER IN TEMPORARY COMMAND
 



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