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Belgium: Naval flags, 1936

Part 1

Last modified: 2005-07-23 by ivan sache
Keywords: naval service ensign | lion (black) | crown: royal (black) | civil ensign | jack | masthead pennant | yacht ensign | crown (yellow) |
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Official prescription

A royal decree dated 28 October 1936, modified on 12 May 1938, approved the regulation Règlement relatif aux Pavillons, Honneurs et visites en usage dans la Marine Belge (Regulation prescribing Ensigns, Honours and Visits in use in the Belgian Navy).

The text prescribes ensigns, salutes and other courtesy items, including two new ensigns for State and private ships, whereas the merchant ensign is not changed. House flags have to be allowed. A yacht ensign was also adopted.


  • L. Nyssen Einige Flaggen der belgischen Marine von 1815 bis heute (Some flags of the Belgian Navy from 1815 until now). Flaggenkurier [dfk] (1995). Paper also available online.
  • M. Lupant Flags and Coats of Arms of the Kingdom of Belgium [lup98]

Ivan Sache & Jan Mertens, 12 May 2004

National and civil ensign, and jack of the State vessels

[Civil ensign]by Vincent Morley

The civil ensign is a rectangular Belgian tricolor flag.

Source: Flaggenbuch [neu92]

This flag is still in use as the national and civil ensign.

Ivan Sache, 3 March 2001

Brown's Flags and Funnels of British and Foreign Steamship Companies (1926) [wed26] shows this flag with the caption: Belgian Government Mail Steamers, Brussels.

Jarig Bakker, 11 January 2005

Naval service ensign

[Naval service ensign, 1936]by Željko Heimer

The naval service ensign is a rectangular Belgian tricolor flag with a crowned lion in the yellow stripe. The lion is black, armed and tongued in red, the crown is black. The height of the lion is one third of flag heigth. The width of the lion is 8/45th of the flag width. The height of the crown is one sixth of the flag heigth. The width of the crown is 7/45th of the flag width.

Source: Flaggenbuch [neu92]

L. Nyssen, in Vexillacta [vxl] #3 (March 1999), says:

The State's Navy ensign was regulated by royal order of 28 October 1936, but its real use was postponed until winter 1937/1938. The crews then tinkered with ensigns by using cardboard stencils of the crown and the lion, and in several cases the lion was fully black.

Ivan Sache, 3 March 2001

Special civil ensign

[Special merchant ensign]by Željko Heimer

L. Nyssen (loc. cit.) and M. Lupant [lup98] also mention another ensign regulated by the same 1936 order, which has apparently never been used. It is the State's Navy ensign without crown. It should be hoisted on ships not belonging to the State Navy but commanded by an officer registered in the Roll of Navy and with at least 1/3rd of the crew also registered in the Roll of Navy. The Roll of Navy is the naval reserve, to be armed only in case of general mobilization. This particular ensign is quite similar in use to the British Blue Ensign. It is not mentioned in Album des Pavillons [pay00], but was shown in Flaggenbuch [neu92].

Ivan Sache, 9 August 2000

Masthead pennant

[Masthead pennant]by Željko Heimer

The mastheapennant is a thin rectangular Belgian tricolor flag with a forked red tail. The tail has the same width as the three other stripes (1:1:1:1). The heigth of the flag shall be no more than 15 cm.
The c aption says: Twice wider has the other ensigns hoisted.

Source: Flaggenbuch [neu92]

This flag is still in use.

Ivan Sache, 3 March 2001

Yacht ensign

[Yacht ensign]by Željko Heimer

The yacht ensign is a Belgian tricolor flag with a yellow crown in canton.

Source: Flaggenbuch [neu92]

This flag is still in use (with variant).

Ivan Sache, 3 March 2001

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