Last modified: 2013-07-19 by rob raeside
Keywords: royal navy | white ensign | colours |
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image by T.F. Mills
This is a drawing of the Royal Navy King's Colour from the reign of
George VI. I adapted this from a black and white line drawing in
T.J. Edwards, Standards, Guidons and Colours of the Commonwealth
Forces, (1953). I assume the circlet is blue because it is the
Garter. The motto Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense is partially
concealed by the crown.
T.F. Mills, 24 January 1999
More details at Royal Navy colour.
image by Martin Grieve, 25 June 2006
Christopher Southworth prepared a construction sheet based on the illustration
by Graham Bartram in BR20. If the flag was
introduced in 1947 as we are informed, then the Colour would have contained the
Royal Cypher of George VI, ensigned with a Tudor crown of course. This would
have changed in 1953, when Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II took the throne.
Martin Grieve, 25 June 2006
More details at Queen's colours of the RAF Regiment.
I was recently surprised to discover that there were actually three patterns
of Union Flag used on military colours, since I naturally assumed that the RN
would use the Admiralty pattern on theirs. Wrong again, that would be far too
logical for a British flag. The QC's of the RAF and Royal Marines are the only two sets which use the
standard 'Admiralty pattern' of Union Flag, whereas those of the
Royal Navy and Army each have their own unique
variation. The Army use the Great Union of 1900 which has a counterchanged
saltire of even width with a narrow fimbriation added, and a fimbriation to the
St George of the same width as the saltire. The pattern used on the RN colour
also has a saltire of even widths and added fimbriation, but the fimbriation to
the St George is approx 1/4 the cross, whilst (as per the recent post) the
colours of the RAF and RM carry the Admiralty pattern.
Christopher Southworth, 25 June 2006
Paragraph 55.4 of the Ceremonial manual of 1912 says:
'In line the Colours, each carried by an officer (as directed by the KRs), will be placed between the two centre companies; the King's Colour on the right, the Regimental Colour on the left, with a serjeant between them and two non-commissioned officers or selected privates, covering them in line with the rear rank. The officer carrying the King's Colour will command the party.The accompanying diagrams (Plate V 'A battalion in line' and Plate VI 'A battalion in column by the left') seem to show the serjeant placed between, and in line with, the two colours, with the two 'selected NCOs' directly behind the colour bearers, and presumably, two paces behind, if that is the distance the centre sergeant has to move to align himself with the rear rank.
'If ranks are changed the Colour party will change flank on the orders of the senior officer of the Colour party, if the line is ordered to retire the Colour party will turn about, and the centre serjeant, stepping forward two paces, will align himself with the rear rank.'
On last Saturday's BBC TV broadcast of "Trooping the Colour" there was an
extract showing a type of flag that I had never heard of before, i.e. a Practice
Colour. It appears that when practicing for the ceremony the colour-bearer does
not use the actual battalion colour (in this case of the Welsh Guards) but a
special practice colour with a different and simpler design. In this instance it
was a red flag, of the same proportions as the main colour, with a gold dragon
passant; this being the principal emblem on the actual colour which adds several
other emblems. I would suppose that the other Guards battalions have practice
colours as well but this was not mentioned.
Kenneth Fraser, 19 June 2013