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Board of Ordnance: Army Council (Britain)

Last modified: 2011-07-02 by rob raeside
Keywords: board of ordnance | army council | cannons |
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Army Council

Army Council 1905-1945

[Army Council 1905-1945] image by Martin Grieve

The shield, without the red border, was also used in the centre of the Union Jack as the flag of the Army Council, authorised in 1905. Although a drawing was sent to the Admiralty it was not put into the Admiralty Flag Book. On 31st October 1919 the War Office wrote asking that it should be included in the Flag Book. The Admiralty "supposed that it may occasionally be flown at sea" and agreed to the request. Authorised by Naval Law Branch letter 34291/19, and added to the 1916 edition in 1920.
David Prothero, 20 September 2004

Army Council 1945-1964

[Army Council 1945-1964] image by Martin Grieve

The badge was modified 30th October 1944. Naval Law Branch letter 725/45 authorised an amendment, which was included in errata 7 (1947) to the 1930 edition of the Admiralty Flag Book. I have not seen the details of this amendment. It was probably to make the badge the same as the shield from which it was derived; cannon pointing dexter on a pale blue background. In Gresham Carr's "Flags of the World" (1953 and 1961) the cannon are reversed to point towards the hoist, and the background colour is pale blue. However in BR20, volume II, 1958, although the cannon are pointing to the hoist the background is still dark blue.
David Prothero, 20 September 2004

In Campbell and Evans "The book of flags" (4th edn.,1960) on page 30, it says:
"The Army Council - the committee of high ranking officers and civilian organizers headed by a Cabinet Minister which controls the army - has its own flag, the Union, charged in its centre by a shield bearing the arms of the old Board of Ordnance: three old-fashioned cannon arranged one above the other, gold on a blue field; above them are three old-fashioned cannon balls, side by side, white, but shaded so as to appear round, on a white field. The Ordnance and Royal Artillery fly the Blue Ensign with a similar shield, with or without a yellow border, in its fly. (The cannon on both flags now point towards the hoist.)"
In the accompanying pictures on page 31, the badges of both flags still have the cannon towards the fly. There's no mention or indication of a pale blue field of the badge.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 11 November 2010

There is a black and white illustration of the badge at the top of page 31 of the 5th edition of "The book of flags", which shows the thick fimbriation around the shield with a vertical hatching pattern, and this most certainly represents that this is red in colour as vertical lines are red, horizontal lines, blue etc.

What is of great curiosity here is why the text mentions yellow border - I presume this to be a misprint as it is in conflict with the illustration, but it may just be the case that the authors were referring to the possibility of a variant. I would therefore, never rule out the light-blue bordered shield, but my first instincts here tell me that, with respect, Clive perhaps, is confusing the background colour of the shield with the fimbriation (i.e., light blue?)
Martin Grieve, 11 June 2005

Army Council car flag 19??-1953

[Army Council car flag 19??-1953] image by Martin Grieve

The car flag of the Army Council was different; the royal crest on red over blue, 9 inches square (23 cm). The defaced Union Jack of the Army Council disappeared when the Army Council was abolished in 1964, but the car flag, probably with a St Edward's crown by then, continued as the flag of Military Members of the Army Board.
David Prothero, 20 September 2004

The Army Council was replaced by the Army Board, which uses the same red over blue flag with the Royal Crest in the centre. The ensign used by the Royal Logistics Corps is also called "The Army Ensign" and is still in use - Blue Ensign with crossed swords.
Graham Bartram, 17 September 2004