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Identified Flags or Ensigns

Last modified: 2006-09-23 by rob raeside
Keywords: ufe | unidentified flags |
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Below is a series of images of flags that have been provided to FOTW that we have been able to recognise. See also our pages of Unidentified Flags to see flags we still don't know!

Black-red-black nazi flag

Was wondering if you could help me identify this flag. My father brought it back from the second war. He said it was taken from a German staff car. I have searched your site but have not found this flag. Any help would be very much appreciated. The flag is encased in plastic.
Rob Arbuckle, Toronto, 30 May 2006

WW2 Hermann Goering Panzer unit the panzers colors were Pink and Black.
OutPostFlags, 9 July 2006

I saw the most recent flag on the Unidentified Flags or Ensigns (2006) page (Black-Red-Black Tricolore with eagle and swastika) today and believe it to be the Car Ensign for the Commanding Officer of an Army or SS Battalion or Regiment, possibly Artillery (though they use Red-Black-Red with a number).
Matthias Bautt, 25 July 2006

The eagle on the flag is definitely a Luftwaffe (Air Force) eagle.  Therefore, we can certainly say it was not on an Army, Navy, or SS staff car.  As far as the black-red-black background, I do not know the significance there.
Rob Arbuckle, 4 August 2006

This flag is obviously a Luftwaffen-flag that was used during WWII. It resembles very much another flag that is black-green-black (see (although the description might be incorrect at this website, due the "Waffenfarbe")). The red colour might indicate NCO, FLAK etc. (see
Nahne Bienk, 30 August 2006

Red/blue pennant on hat badge

red/blue pennant on hat badge image by Mike Safran, 4 November 2005

Can anyone identify an old hat devise I came across from a local estate [in South Carolina]. I thought that it might be White Star line but the one shown was all red. The flag features a white star with red and blue on either end. I have enclosed an image.
Mike Safran, 4 November 2005

The "hat badge" in the unidentified 2005 section is more properly called a "cap device" and it's shown upside down. The three silver stars (which go at the top) indicate that the owner was a past commodore of a yacht club. The enamel device shows the burgee of the owner's club, the Columbia Sailing Club.
P/C (for Past Commodore) Joseph A. Tringali, 25 August 2006

Shipping flags on plate

Unidentified flags on plates by Harvey Williams

I am a collector of restaurant/dinner ware from railroads, airlines, steamships, etc. I recently came across a dinner plate with a flag logo that I am unable to identify or locate (e.g., Google, e-bay). The back-stamps on the plate are "Higgins & Seiter, New York" and "Cauldon, England." The first is evidently the distributor, and the second the manufacturer. Above is an image of the logo. Under the logo is "EL PRIMERO" (which doesn't show up in the image very well). I would appreciate any help that you might be able to provide as to the identification of either of the flags.
Harvey Williams, 7 August 2005

Given the colours of both pennants and the Spanish inscription, "El Primero", it could be worthwhile to look into badges and insignia of late XIXth and early XXth century Chilean shipping companies. One pennant shows a slanting white "T" also, which could give a lead as to the Company's name (Talcahuano?..).
Anselmo Galindo, 15 April 2006

The unidentified flags from 2005 include crossed flags over a banner on a dinner plate. According to the inquirer, the banner shows the words "El Primero." The flag on the left is the burgee of the Tacoma Yacht Club. The flag on the right, swallow tail with the letter "P," is almost certainly an owner's flag, the "P" of course being "Primero." I've visited Tacoma Yacht Club and found the members to be very helpful, generous people. The owner of the plate should check with Tacoma Yacht Club for further information.
Joseph A. Tringali, 25 August 2006

Red-blue flag in Crimea

At is this anti-NATO graffitti displaying a row of soviet-era flags, from left to right:

Any ideas on this fifth flag?
António Martins-Tuválkin, 16 June 2006

It seems to me, that I know the flag depicted in item "Red-blue flag in Crimea". I'm not quite sure, but it may be the flag of Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine. They have a site, but its English version is incomplete ( ).  But the red star on the blue disc - is their symbol, and they were actively involved in the anti-NATO action mentioned.
Sergiusz Dnieprovsky, 22 August 2006

Black flag, white disk, F

by Scott Burke

This flag is 42 inches long. We bought an old farmhouse here in midcoast Maine - Nobleboro. It was hanging on the wall in the barn. The tacks holding it up were very rusty, so I think it had been there quite a while.
Scott Burke, 14 August 2006

I'm pretty sure this is a prize pennant for the series of annual Friendship Sloop races held by the Friendship Sloop Society. The pennants are made in three versions, blue with a white ball and blue letter "F" I think is first place; red with white ball and red letter is second place I believe; and white with a blue ball and white letter is third. I witnessed the award ceremony some 18 or 20 years ago, so I am relying on my memory here, but I'm fairly certain that is what it is.
Dave Martucci, 16 August 2006

Nine-stripe flag in South Africa

by Andres Burgers

My friend is an inveterate collector of anything under the sun, including flags. Recently he attended the sale of a deceased estate (a former Army officer) in Cape Town and bought a few flags, among them the strange (for us) nine bar red-white-blue-white-red-white-blue-white-red flag which I attach hereto. The heirs could not say how or where their ancestor got it from nor what it represents. I saw a painting of the Drommedaris, one of the three ships with which Jan van Riebeeck arrived at the Cape in 1652, where she was wearing a double Dutch tricolour at the mizzen top, but that of course had only six bars red-white-blue-red-white-blue. The painting is however not contemporary - in fact it is very recent from a still living artist. He has the flag of Amsterdam at the fore and the VOC flag at the ensign staff correct. From this I assume he did his research properly. Might this mystery flag be a variant?
Andries Burgers, 15 December 2004

As Andries  mentions, in the 17th century there was frequent use of a double-tricolour version of the Dutch flag. In a picture of the Dutch East India Company Return Fleet in Batavia, triple tricolours are worn by some of the vessels. In addition there were double tricolours separated by white stripes, sometimes of the same width as the others, sometimes a good deal wider. This appears to be a flag of similar type. In the same way, the Dutch jack of triangles was seen in many variants. It appears that as long as the three colours were shown and there was a clear impression of the design, no one bothered much about specific numbers of stripes or arrangement of triangles.
Michael Faul, 26 June 2006

Michael is absolutely right, see other designs of the Princevlag.
Jarig Bakker, 26 June 2006

Morocco - colours reversed

by Rich Bono

Yesterday I saw a car that had a license tag with what was compositionally the flag of Morocco but instead of a green star on plain red background, the colors were reversed—I modified the Morocco flag to obtain pretty much exactly the emblem I saw on this fellow's car. Do you know what the flag represents? Is it some nation close to Morocco or a region within Morocco or something else? It just bugged me that I couldn't find out what it is! I would be grateful for any help you can give me.
Rich Bono, 28 December 2004

Among your list of unidentified flags I found the Moroccan flag but reversed, (green with a red star). When I visited Morocco back in 1973 I saw this flag and asked what it was. It was flying over a building in Tetuan. I was told that it was a religious flag in Morocco.
Ernst Althin, 21 June 2006

Red flag, ring of stars

I was able to buy a group of 4"x6" desk flags in California, 24 for $5.00 USD, which is quite a bargain. I have not been able to identify two of them and would like to ask for your help. The first one is red with a circle of ten black 5-point stars with another black 5-point star in the center.
Michael P. Smuda, 1 May 2006

I have two sets of flags containing this flag. I bought the second set just to get the booklet that explains what each flag is. The front cover of the booklet says "HISTORICAL FLAG COLLECTION OF OUR AMERICAN HERITAGE". The back cover says "COMMEMORATION OF OUR BICENTENNIAL VONS GROCERY CO." The Red flag, ring of stars, is number 40 and is listed as "Confederate Battle Ensign" again with a paragraph

Like the struggling united colonies before it, the fledgling Confederate states fought under many banners. These battle flags included the "Palmetto Flag," the "Bonnie Blue Flag," and the "Pelican Flag." They symbolized the South much as the Pine Tree and Rattlesnake flags symbolized the colonies, during the Revolution. This simple Confederate ensign, battle-weary, bloodstained, symbolizes the horror and death of war, whenever and whenever it is fought.
Dale Grimes, 24 June 2006

This flag is a replica of an 1861 Confederate "independence flag". The stars are dark blue, not black. The flag is pictured on page 136 of Boleslaw Mastai's book "The Stars and the Stripes" (Alfred A. Knopf, New York; 1973; ISBN 0-394-47217-9)
Dave Martucci, 26 June 2006

Cincinnati flag

I was able to buy a group of 4"x6" desk flags in California, 24 for $5.00 USD, which is quite a bargain. I have not been able to identify two of them and would like to ask for your help.  The second UFE has something to do with Cincinnati. It is a white flag with a large US shield on it. Across the shield is a blue scroll with white lettering "Cincinnati 1783" on the scroll. It is not the flag of Cincinnati. Could this have been a bicentennial flag? Any ideas?
Michael P. Smuda, 1 May 2006

Maybe it has something to do with the Society of the Cincinnati, which was founded in 1783.
Phil Cleary, 1 May 2006

Maybe, but it is not the flag of the Society itself, which is a US flag with light blue stripes and an eagle surrounded by a ring of stars in the canton, as seen on
Eugene Ipavec, 1 May 2006

I have two sets of flags containing this flag. I bought the second set just to get the booklet that explains what each flag is. The front cover of the booklet says "HISTORICAL FLAG COLLECTION OF OUR AMERICAN HERITAGE". The back cover says "COMMEMORATION OF OUR BICENTENNIAL VONS GROCERY CO." The Cincinnati is flag number 27 in the set and is listed as "Banner of the Society of the Cincinnati." And then there is a three sentence paragraph:

In 1801 Major James Farlie and Lieutenant John Stagg, Jr., were appointed the task of designing a banner for their association, the patriotic Society of the Cincinnati. Instead of the usual rectangular flag, they put their imaginations to good use and came up with this beautiful shield-shaped design. The unique banner continues the traditional blue and white regimental stripes, and commemorates the Society founding in 1783 by military companions of George Washington.
Dale Grimes, 24 June 2006

But the image shows a shield with red & white stripes, not blue & white. I wonder from what sources Vons Grocery got the image and data.
Ned Smith, 25 June 2006

This flag is a (bogus) replica of what is supposed to be an early proposal for the Society of Cincinnati, which was founded in 1783. It is in fact a bad copy of a banner that had a dark blue canton with silver stars and 13 alternate light blue and silver pales on the shield with a ribbon overall and the same inscription, although the banner does not have a white field. It is also pictured in Mastai's book, The Stars and the Stripes, on page 24.
Dave Martucci, 26 June 2006

Nazi flag in CAMBIO magazine

by Esteban Rivera

I'm enclosing a picture I found in a Colombian magazine called CAMBIO ( If someone knows the origin or could draw it, it would be
very helpful.
Esteban Rivera, 11 June 2005

This flag shown would appear to be based on some sort of NASDP command flag such as these on our page on SS command and other car flags. With the presence of the "Death Head", could it be linked to a waffen-SS or SS-Totenkopfverbände unit? Alternatively, since the image is modern (based on the car seen behind the man) could it be a fantasy item that simply recycled a few elements?
Marc Pasquin, 30 July 2005

I found this website today that features the same flag ( ). If you scroll down this page you will find the title "SS Totenkopf Nazi Flags". At first sight it seems like a replica flag, but I doubt that.
Esteban Rivera, 4 December 2005

1898 Lion Flag

Can you please help to identify a British(?) flag I's dated 1898 and has a large standing lion with the words R.A.C. on it.
Steve Winters, 3 March 2005

This is a complete guess, but the Automobile Compagnie de Renault was founded in 1898. The flag definitely has a lion which is more continental European than British, but Renaults would have competed in British races from the very early days of the sport. I don't know if the company ever used a lion as their emblem (they certainly don't today), but it's a possibility.
James Dignan, 3 March 2005

I don't think we should necessarily assume that the initials are 'R.A.C.' James suggests 'A.C.R.' (which looks a little forced to me ), but 'A.R.C.' looks quite likely. The gold lion rampant on green suggests Alderney to me - though the Alderney lion is crowned - and I don't know where the St Patrick's Cross fits in.
André Coutanche, 3 March 2005

Assuming that the initials should be read as R.A.C. I have two wild guesses:
1. I was reading about the history of African slavery and came across the Royal Africa Company = R.A.C.? It is probably unlikely that they would still have existed in 1898, however.
2. Royal Automobile Club? Perhaps too early for them to have existed? [It was founded in 1897, but not called RAC till 1907.]
Andries Burgers, 6 March 2005

The identification with Renault I think may be a bit fanciful, simply from the order of the letters. The combination of the (possibly) Alderney lion and the Jersey saltire suggest to us that it may be from the Channel Islands. One suggestion has been "Alderney Rowing Club" and the date of its foundation. Certainly the size of the flag as specified to us by the owner suggests a flag which would have flown over the shore establishment of such a club.
Michael Faul, 17 July 2005

I believe that I have identified the 1898 Lion Flag as belonging to, wait for this! Ruder Club Aschaffenburg 1898.
I researched this flag entirely through the internet and arrived at the following website page,, needless to say, it's in German or Bavarian (is there a difference?) However, I downloaded the .pdf file and converted it into a text file, then using my Multilingual software converted the German text into English.

The following is my software translation of part of the .pdf file.

§ 3 colors and flag
The colors of the association are green white red.
The association flag consists of STATUTE of the Rudder club Aschaffenburg of 1898 e. V , conditions 03/2002

2, a right-angled divided field. The left rectangle of the flag field shows a golden, upright-standing lion, which is turned to the flag mast on green reason. The remaining larger rectangle of the flag field has a white reason and is diagonally by two red bars crossed. In the three upper triangle fields divided by the bars the initial letters of the association name are in black set in golden Latin large letter attached. The year of the establishment of the association is drawn in in the same way in the lower triangle field. The large "A" of the abbreviation for Aschaffenburg is in the upper triangle field.

David S Smales, 23 September 2005

Striped Turkish flag

[stripes not necessarily accurate]

Outside a building near the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, the Turkish flag and another flag that I cannot identify were flying. This other flag is an ensign type with the Turkish flag in the upper left hand corner and a background comprised of several horizontal stripes. I think the colours of the stripes were red, black and white. What does this flag represent?
Riaz Sobrany, 16 March 2005

This, and many others like it, are typical Turkish Football Team flags.  I was stationed outside Istanbul in the 1970s and had the same question - but for flags with varying numbers of stripes - minimum four, max - about twelve. A Turkish friend explained that each team has a flag of its team colors with the Turkish national flag in the canton. They are most commonly seen near football (our soccer) stadiums and most common on Saturdays.
Don Healy, 17 July 2005

Yacht club flag on tie-clip

This burgee flag was found as an enamel tie-clip: a white triangular field, blue saltire, with a blue star in the hoist triangle.
Bob, 5 March 2003

This is almost certainly, the Manchester Yacht Club (Mass., US):
Jan Mertens, 25 June 2005

German flag in swastika design

by Tom Gregg

I recently received a WWII flag from a US serviceman who obtained it while fighting in the Battle of the Bulge (in Patton's 3rd army). It's approx. 5'x7', a thin cotton, and the black cross is printed on white cloth. One side of the flag has an eyelet on each corner. The pattern is on one side only. I have had no success in finding any likenesses on the web or in books. Would you have any idea as to the history and use of this design?
Grant Olson

My father was a B-17 pilot for the 351st Bomb Group out of Polebrook, England. He was shot down on 22 June, 1944, over Rouen, France and became a POW at Stalag Luft III. As the allied forces advanced, they were marched to Mooseberg. In April, they were liberated by Patton's 3rd army. During this time in Germany, he obtained a flag, that I have not been able to identify. It is approx. 3'x6' with a white circle with a black cross in the middle. The cross is similar to the marking found on Me109 and Fw190 German fighters.
Rob, 7 December 2002

This flag was a typical WWII German airplane recognition symbol for tanks. This item was never used as flag, it was only used to save German tanks from friendly fire. During the war there was also the "normal" swastika flag in use for airplane recognition on tanks.
Jörg M. Karaschewski, 23 March 2004

It appears that the long recurring mystery about this flag is solved, or starting to be. Up to now, we have had several reports of similar flag specimens, mostly from the US. The fact that this flag is not documented in any source —at least none has been reported in FOTW— and that most reports came from people browsing or moreover selling such an item in Internet (e.g., eBay) raised suspicion that it was a modern concoction of a flag which was never produced before 1945.

I came across the following in Roger James Bender and Warren W. Odegard, "Uniforms, Organization and History of the Panzertruppe", R. James Bender Publishing, San Jose CA, 1980, p. 284:

"In anticipation of recognition problems between the Army and Luftwaffe support units during the upcoming invasion of France and the Netherlands, the German General Staff issued the following order in March 1940 (3). "A swastika flag and orange smoke are to be utilized by all troops for recognition purposes when in a combat zone. The swastika flag is, according to circumstances, to be spread out on the ground, to be waved to and fro, or to be stretched across a vehicle. (...)
"The swastika flag discussed above was either a standard national flag or a special issue flag with a metal grommet at each corner for tying down purposes. Later in the war, the use of the Balken cross flag (white circle with a Balken cross in its center rather than a swastika, on a red field) gradually replaced the swastika flag. It should be noted that these flags were rarely used in the final stages of the war because the Allies held undisputed air superiority over most fronts."

Footnote (3) says: "(3) Ob.d.H./Gen.St.d.H./Ausb.Abt. (Ia) Nr. 450/40g vom 8.3.1940. This order was altered slightly by Order #363, dated April 2, 1941, in AHM, April 21, 1941"
So it appears that the so-called Balken cross flag (a) actually did exist, though it was never hoisted as a proper flag, (b) its use started after the 1940 campaign in France, possibly during or after the 1941 invasion of Russia and (c) was not used after, say, mid 1944. (This is probably a reason why Allied veterans could not spot it after Normandy, except for those held as POWs at Stalag Luft camps.)
Santiago Dotor, 25 March 2004

Naval Cap badge?

[UFE - naval cap badge?]

I recently came across this officers cap at a sale and I have made quite a few enquiries but nobody seems to know anything about it, some have said it looks Japanese. Have you come across this badge at all. The arm in the centre of badge is wearing armour.
Ken Katsina, 22 July 2004

The flag is the one of JOSEPH L. THOMPSON & SONS Ltd.: a famous ship yard at Sunderland, England. This company was involved in the first design of the Liberty Ships. Why did a shipyard have to use an officer cap badge? Certainly for the test & trial crew before official flagging of the new ship to her owner.
Source: Loughran (1979), page 79.
Alan Coutret, 22 October 2004

Blue field - white disk on Roy Cross painting

I would like to identify a Naval flag that is depicted in a Roy Cross painting of a Clipper ship in the Arctic. The flag in question is flying at the top of the main mast, is square, has a blue field and a white circle in the centre. The only things that I can find that are similar is either the 'Blue Peter' or a pendant representing the number 2. Have you any ideas?
Austin Smith, 13 February 2004

Since a blue flag with a white circle does not appear in either Marryat's code of 1824, or in the Commercial (International) Code of Signals of 1857 - 1900 (although there is "a pendant blue with a white ball" as Austin indicates above), can we reasonably assume that it is either a private signal of some sort, or a house flag?
Christopher Southworth, 13 February 2004

A single flag at a masthead is probably a house flag rather than a signal flag. Four or five steam-ship companies had a house flag like this.
David Prothero, 14 February 2004

The flag mentioned, ( I have a copy of the print Austin is referring to) is very similar to what my family uses as a "family flag". I don't know the exact origin of this flag, but I do know the flag was used as far back as 1797 at an ancestors home in Camden County Georgia. Major Joseph Hardee was the son of a Captain John Hardy who patrolled the coast in the galley Washington.

The flag has flown at my home, Father's home, Grandfather's, etc. , for as long as I can remember. All of my vehicles also have the flag on the license plate, as did my father's. My father is gone, but I am keeping his tradition. The flag was used during the American Civil War as a battle flag with several variations, but was called the Hardee Flag.
Gourm Hardee, 9 August 2004

Football Flag in Sfax, Tunisia

[UFE seen in Sfax] by Ivan Sache

A red flag with a thin white cross and a thin white saltire was prominently displayed in the stand of the stadium of Sfax, during the quarter finals Morocco-Algeria of the Africa Nations' Cup last Sunday. The flag is probably a club supporters' flag, but I have no clue on the club it represented. The Algerian supporters outnumbered the Moroccans, but such a red flag looks, at first sight, rather Moroccan than Algerian. An element of answer might be given during the semi-finals: if the flag is still there, it is Moroccan, if it is no longer there, no straight conclusion is possible.
Ivan Sache, 9 February 2004

The football flag from Tunisia looks like a flag belonging to Wydad of Casablanca.
Neil Boulton, 24 October 2004

Sons in Service variant?

I recently acquired this flag. It reminds me of a Sons in Service flag with the red border and blue stars, but I have not seen a service flag with blue bars. Do you know what this flag actually is? It is 49 1/2" x 32 1/2" in size.

Pete Bochek, 12 May 2003

I was searching on eBay and stumbled across this Liberty Loan poster. What I'm guessing is that the number of stripes corresponds to the number of Liberty Loans a town has given to the Great War (World War I) I'm not so sure about the stars on the FOTW site. Kind of has me stumped. But I believe I have found the meaning behind the stripes. 
Jonathan Backstrom, 31 March 2004

The flag (note the picture is upside down) is one of two variants I have seen of the special award flag for the Third Liberty Loan of 1918. One with the two stars and one without - the two stars indicate municipality raised three times its allotted quota. The flag of the Fourth Liberty Loan, which is similar but has 4 vertical stripes and no stars. The Liberty Loans were national efforts to raise extra money for the War effort; the loans were interest-free (at least I think so; none of the literature mentions any) funds given by US Citizens and repaid by the US Government after the War. In many cases, the loaners forgave the loan after the War.

I am unaware if the First or Second Liberty Loan Drives had any flag associated with them, but by the time of the Third Liberty Loan, organizations, corporations or municipalities could sign up many individual donors to make the target amount and get a 3'x5' flag for their efforts.

I have always thought that maybe this design is a combination of the NSF and the proposed flag of the Four Freedoms that was briefly considered as a flag for the UN before the end of the War. That flag was white with 4 vertical red bars that did not touch the edges of the flag.
Dave Martucci, 5 April 2004

Three lions St.George's flag

An unidentified flag posted for sale on eBay, 29 August 2002.
Bill Garrison, 29 August 2002

Being square, it looks like a banner of arms, either personal, civic, or corporate.
Joe McMillan, 29 August 2002

I have no definitive citation for you, but the Three Lions St. George flag looks exactly like several I have seen on TV broadcasts of England national team football (soccer) games. One sees lots of variations on the English flag at such events, and I am certain that I have seen this three-lion version as a banner hung from stadium terraces.
Scott Rogers, 20 May 2003

From, which seems to be a website dedicated to some sort of role-playing game, is this blazon of the arms corresponding to the "three lions St. George" shown here. "Argent, on a cross gules a lion passant between two lions' faces in pale Or.* Corporate Arms of the FOOTBALL LEAGUE, which governs English domestic competition, March 25, 1974.
Crest: On a grassy mount a football surmounted by a swift (Apus apus) volant, all proper.
Badge: In front of a chain of twelve links in the form of an annulet agent a lion tricorporate the tails of the upper two bodies in chief Or.
The Football League banner flies over Wembley Stadium."

This would account for Scott Rogers's comment on our page that he'd seen this flag flying at English national matches, although I gather that the role of the Football League is no longer what it once was.
Joe McMillan, 12 May 2004

It may have been the arms then, but it now uses a soccer ball proper surrounded by an azure and gules circular pattern (similar to a bordure compony). Above this is a crest of a lion passant gardant gules, and below are the words "The football league" in sable (that according to a picture in the Rothmans Football Yearbook 2001-2002, anyway).

The logo of the English Premier League is simply argent, a lion statant azure, with left front leg lifted, supported by a soccer ball argent and gules. The lion is crowned gules, and is standing on a base vert. The base contains the words "The F.A. Premier League" in argent between two very thin barrulets argent.
James Dignan, 12 May 2004

Not sure it does; it's a reference to his family arms, and the axes there are black. What we saw was white with three red axes. Do any of the towns mentioned on the page have arms/flag like that?

Al Kirsch, 29 August 2002

Black-blue-black flag stickers

Lately I've noticed a black - medium blue - black, arranged horizontally auto tag on many vehicles in the area around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Anyone know what this means?
John Evosevic
, 3 July 2002

The Black-Blue-Black design is usually seen on a policeman's personal car or family members car. It stands for the "thin blue line". There is also a similar one with a red strip for firemen.
Jim Popovitch
, 17 August 2002

The black-medium blue-black flag is actually a police mourning band. It is typically worn as a band across the badge when an officer is killed in the line of duty. I have seen it in use more frequently now as a bumper sticker, I believe this is probably a show of respect for the police officers killed on September 11th.
Troy Corwin
, 26 September 2002

This design is an identification to notify other law enforcement people that the bearer also works in law enforcement. It represents the "thin blue line", or brother police officer. The identification of fallen officers uses a badge with black tape or a black elastic band around the center. It is usually only worn when an officer dies, and is worn for up to a week after death, not everyday use.
Bob Cunningham II, 8 May 2006