FLAGS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
 


 
HISTORY AT THE HOIST  •  PAGE THREE
 

OTHER ORGANIZATIONS



 

OTHER ORGANIZATIONS

 

THE COLLEGE OF ARMS  •  ARMORIAL BANNER

 

THE CINQUE PORTS  •  ARMORIAL BANNER

The College of Arms is part of the Royal Household, responsible for the granting and registration of coats of arms and all related heraldic activities for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. (Scotland has a separate heraldic authority.) Its flag is an armorial banner or banner of arms, i.e. the shield of its coat of arms rendered in flag form. The Confederation of Cinque Ports (from Norman French, meaning five ports after the five towns originally designated) is made up of 42 coastal towns in Kent and Sussex at the eastern end of the English Channel. Established by Royal Charter in 1155, the Confederation’s principal purpose was to provide what today would be called a naval reserve: some 50 ships with crews available to the Crown in case of need. In return the Cinque Ports received a number of privileges including exemptions from taxes and duties. From the fourteenth century onward the Cinque Ports declined in importance and today the designation is purely honorary and ceremonial. The Crown appoints the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, an honor usually bestowed on a member of the Royal Family or a prominent subject. The flag of the Cinque Ports, a banner of their arms, is thought to be one of the most ancient in England.

 

TRINITY HOUSE ENSIGN

 

NORTHERN LIGHTS ENSIGN

 

COMMISSIONER OF NORTHERN LIGHTS FLAG

Trinity House is a private corporation operating under a Royal Charter. Founded in 1514 and headquartered in London, It is the official General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar, responsible for the operation and maintenance of navigational aids, such as lighthouses, lightvessels, buoys, and maritime radio/satellite communication systems. The Corporation is also an official deep-sea pilotage authority, providing expert navigators for merchant vessels in northern European waters. Additionally it carries out a number of charitable activities. Trinity House vessels wear a Red Ensign defaced with its coat of arms, which in flag form serves as a jack. Vessels belonging to the Northern Lights organization of Trinity House wear a defaced Blue Ensign. The flag of the Commissioner of Northern Lights is of interest because it is the only official British flag or ensign that still incorporates the pre-1801 version of the UJ, omitting the Cross of St. Patrick.

 

ROYAL NATIONAL LIFEBOAT INSTITUTION ENSIGN

 

MARITIME VOLUNTEER SERVICE ENSIGN

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charitable organization operating over 250 lifeboat stations in the British Isles, including Ireland. Founded in 1824, it was granted a Royal Charter in 1860. The defaced Red Ensign for the use of its watercraft displays the RNLI house flag, which is used on land. The Maritime Volunteer Service was founded in 1994 as a charitable organization to support port and river authorities around the UK. The MVS also operates as a youth organization, offering maritime experience and training to young people. In 1997 the MVI received formal recognition from the Royal Navy and the following year an Admiralty Warrant was issued authorizing the MVI to use a Red Ensign defaced with its badge.

 

PORT OF LONDON AUTHORITY ENSIGN
 

 

COMPANY OF WATERMEN AND LIGHTERMEN
OF THE RIVER THAMES

The Port of London Authority, responsible for the management and regulation of matters relating to the city's port facilities, has a defaced Blue Ensign for use by its vessels. The origins of the Company of Waterman and Lightermen of the River Thames go back to 1514, when the river was London's principal highway with watermen transporting passengers in their boats and lightermen transporting cargo. Today the Company combines the functions of a trade union, a fraternal order and a charity. Its Red Ensign is defaced with the arms granted in 1585.

 

ROYAL YACHT SQUADRON  •  ENSIGN & BURGEE

 

ROYAL ALBERT YACHT CLUB  •  ENSIGN & BURGEE

 

HOUSE OF COMMONS YACHT CLUB  •  ENSIGN & BURGEE

Most British yacht clubs have a distinctive triangular pennant, called a burgee, and in addition many have received an Admiralty Warrant to fly a distinctive ensign. Clubs with a burgee only use the undefaced Red Ensign or, with permission, the undefaced Blue Ensign; distinctive ensigns can be either blue or red, with the club's badge in the fly. The Royal Yacht Squadron has the unique privilege of using the White Ensign, which otherwise is reserved for the Royal Navy. Maritime custom dictates that the ensign should be displayed at the stern and the burgee at the main masthead.




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