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Unofficial Civil Ensign c.1898-1943, probably never existed (Malta)

Last modified: 2005-04-09 by santiago dotor
Keywords: ensign: red | disc (white) | coat of arms: per pale (white-red) |
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[Civil Ensign c.1898-1943 (Malta)]
by Santiago Dotor and António Martins

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This red ensign was in use from c.1898 to 28 December 1943.

Jaume Ollé, 6 February 2000

This badge did not appear officially on a Red Ensign. Unofficially, it probably did.

David Prothero, 7 February 2000

The Flags of All Nations chart on pages 186-187 of Smith 1975 [smi75c] (probably compiled 1916) has several mistakes. In general the proportions of the flags are too square, the badges too large and not centred in the fly. Among several incorrect flags it shows a Red Ensign with badge for Malta. The official Red Ensign for Malta was the plain undefaced Red Ensign. I have not seen references to any unofficial Maltese Red Ensigns [at that time].

David Prothero, 15 and 19 December 2000

In his book Maltese Insignia [str92], p. 35, Adrian Strickland wrote,

During the British colonial period the arms of Malta, edged in gold were used as a distinguishing badge in the customary manner on both the British Red Ensign for merchant ships, and on the Blue Ensign (fig. 33) for non-naval government ships.
I don't attach much weight to this. His use of the word customary suggests that when he wrote the book (published 1992) he was not aware of the fact that a red ensign defaced with the badge of a colony was the exception and not the rule. The book has a hundred illustrations, of which about a quarter are of, or relate to flags, but none are of a Maltese Red Ensign.

I lived in Malta for three years in the late 1950's and saw no Maltese Red Ensigns at that time.

Is there any evidence that suggests the existence of Maltese Red Ensigns?

David Prothero, 7 June 2002