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Unidentified Flags or Ensigns (2004)

Flags submitted in 2004

Last modified: 2006-07-08 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, but which we have been unable to recognise. If you can identify any of these flags, please let us know! Contact the director. See also our page of Identified Flags to see flags we have figured out through this page.

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White with red cross

by Devereaux Cannon

I have been sent a UFE which might be described as a St. George's flag, but with the cross shifted toward the hoist and also toward the top. The correspondent who sent this to me had seen it in several locations in Georgia (US), and in North and South Carolina. He has seen it flown in connection with the Confederate battle flag, and assumed it had a Confederate connection. I am not familiar with the use of such a flag in any connection with the CSA Can anyone identify this flag?

There is a flag for "The North of England" which is similar. The red cross on the white field is a Scandinavian style cross, but this UFE also seems to have the cross ride up towards the top of the flag. In any event, I have no idea why any such flag (other than the St. George of England) would be seen in several locations in Britain's former coastal provinces south of Virginia!
Devereaux Cannon, 10 December 2004

1822 Red Cross flag, maybe in Cuba

by Wendy Wilkinson

The flag appears to be a red X in the upper left-hand corner on a medium blue field. My great-grandfather Adolf was in US Cavalry in the Spanish American war stationed in Cuba, 1898. While there, a comrade (who was an architect's assistant) made him a present of these architectural plans of a castle painted by a senior associate. The plans are dated 1822 but otherwise have no other information. The plans do not indicate the country in which the castle is located. My grandmother told me the castle was "owned by a Spanish prince." But Spain was in control of many countries in those days. The blueprints are in English. I was wondering if the flag (if it is genuine, and not an artist's rendition of a banner) could be a possible clue to the location of this castle. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated!
Wendy Wilkinson, 30 November 2004

The first thing that popped in my mind was "badly rendered British blue ensign".
Marc Pasquin, 1 December 2004

Orange - White - Blue - Yellow - Lime Green

I have someone who called me about a flag they are flying. They said it has 5 horizontal stripes of Orange - White - Blue - Yellow - Lime Green. I have no further information.
Lee Herold, 9 February 2004

A pure hypothesis, some kind of Chinese flag. There have been quite a few imperial rank flags with various colours so this arrangement might just be one we haven't got yet (especially if the orange bit is a faded red).
Marc Pasquin, 10 February 2004

If this is an old flag, especially if it is one made of wool bunting and the orange and green are faded, then it may be of great interest. During the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902, Transvaal and Orange Free State forces combined against the British. This involved also the fielding of mixed units with men from both states. Some of these units used flags to designate headquarters which combined the colours of the two countries. The Transvaal colours were red, white, blue and green; those of the orange Free State were red, white, blue and orange. In one or two cases, the orange was replaced by yellow (perhaps through inability to obtain orange- coloured material). Several of these so-called "vyfkleur" (five-coloured) flags exist. This may be one of them. I would need to see a picture of the flag or (better still) to examine the actual item to be more certain of this.
Michael Faul, 18 July 2005

St. George's Cross Branchee

by Andres Burgers

While watching the third day of the first cricket test between England and South Africa at St Georges Park in Port Elizabeth on TV this afternoon my attention was occasionally distracted by the Barmy Army. They were there in some strength, well tanked up and in good voice. Many St George crosses waving about especially when the English team did something they approved of. There were among Barmy Army many members wearing the cross of St George on their T-shirts. There were also a few who wore a red cross Branchee or Fichee also on their T-shirts. Would this be only a private variation of St Georges cross among this crowd or has it some sporting connection like a cricket club flag that you know of?
Andries Burgers, 19 December 2004

I suggest that this flag may be a remnant of either the Knights Templar or the Knights Hospitalier.
"Carmel", 25 June 2005

Flag in Monet painting

I was looking at Monet's Garden at Sainte-Adresse (see for a larger image) and was wondering what the flag on the left was.
Nathan Lamm, 4 November 2004

We can be sure he actually saw the flags. He painted from life, an important consideration to impressionists who were all about light.
Al Kirsch, 4 November 2004

Red and yellow are the traditional colours of Normandie, which is where Sainte-Adresse is.
James Dignan, 4 November 2004

Having read a commentary on this painting only last week, I can say that:
- the scene is painted from an upper room in Monet's parents' house
- the man in the seat is Monet's father
- the painter called this painting "Chinese" or "Chinese-like" referring, I believe, to the rather startling use of colour.
So there are some realist touches. But I agree on the need for caution when discussing flags in paintings.
Jan Mertens, 4 November 2004

I believe that I can identify the flag in Monet's painting. The same Red and Yellow bicoloured pennant is shown as "France, Commerce, Pendant 4", being the description of flag illustration 328 in "Vlaggen van alle Natien", edited by Steenbergen and published in Amsterdam 1865 [stb65]. I don't have information to identify the signal meaning of Pendant 4 at that time. This would however be consistent with the 1867 date of Monet's Terrace at Sainte-Adresse. I included this painting as one of the many artworks involving flags cited in my lecture to the 20th International Congress of Vexillology, Stockholm.
Ralph Kelly, 5 November 2004

There was indeed a yellow-red bicolour flag used by ships registered in the French Eastern colonies and Africa coast. The flag is shown yellow-red by several sources, and pennant 4 might be an erroneous depiction of this flag ... or the correct depiction of something completely different. Anyway, such a registration pennant is not expected to be hoisted on the promenade of Sainte-Adresse. The pennants were for ships only.
Ivan Sache, 6 November 2004

"Vlaggen van alle Natien" does further note that Pendant 4 was part of the "Reynolds" signal system, which it states was "the same as Marryats signals, besides the pendants". Marryat's Code of Signals for the Merchant Service was a system of 10 numerical pendants used to make a range of 4 digit numbers, each of was assigned a meaning. As the Marryat system, and presumably the Reynolds system usually hoist several flags and pennants together as a grouped signal, the use of a solitary signal flag on the shore is either "decorative", one of a series of signals (unlikely in a private garden) or the single flag had a local meaning, such as a private yacht club racing signal. However, it is not correct to say "The pennants were for ships only" as the pennant was part of a signaling system, it is equally valid to use such flags as part of a signal form shore to sea as from ship to shore.
Ralph Kelly, 6 November 2004

See also:

Southern Cross flag

[UFE with Southern Cross] by Tyler Dykstra

I saw this flag recently, but I can't identify it. It's divided diagonally from the lower-hoist corner to the upper-fly corner. The upper triangle is blue and the lower is red, with a yellow stripe dividing the triangles. The southern cross is in the canton. I think it's Australian, but I'm not sure.
Tyler Dykstra, 10 October 2004

The first flag, submitted by Tyler Dykstra in 2004, shows the southern cross. During the referendum for independence from the commonwealth, the Australian Government held a competition for a new flag to be designed. It is possible that this flag is one of those designs.
"Carmel", 25 June 2005

This might be one of the entries to the AusFlag competition to design a new flag for Australia, although I can't find an exact match on the web page.
Brendan Avis, 9 September

Red Eagle flag

[UFE with eagle] by Ivan Sarajcic

Any idea what this flag represented? It measures 2' by 2'. I thought the three stars and five arrows would be a clue, but couldn't find anything like it.
Ivan Sarajcic, 4 October 2004

USA Military History: West Point Museum
This is the late 19th century to pre-WW-I period, War Department HQ standard for 3-star US Army General Officers. Flag was generally stood at his HQ office along with the USA National flag, US Army flag, and his Army Field Command (Corps or Group) flag. Some Generals also had present their home state Flag present in their office.
Grendel Night, 14 October 2005

I very much doubt this identification. The eagle looks nothing like any eagle that ever appeared on a US Army flag of this period (see the North Dakota state flag for the normal portrayal of the time); no such flag appears in any edition of Army Regulations from the 1820s onward, or in any War Department General Order; a 2 x 2 foot (60 cm square) flag seems awfully small for the purpose stated; and, most tellingly of all, if "late 19th century to pre-WWI" means 1875 to 1914, there was never at any time more than one 3-star (lieutenant) general in the Army, and for 19 of the 39 years none at all.

Not to mention that there were no corps headquarters in the US Army between the Civil War (1865) and the Spanish American War (1898) or from then until American troops started arriving in France in large numbers in 1918. Or that the one state that both the 19th century lieutenant generals came from--Ohio--didn't adopt its state flag until 1902.
Joe McMillan, 14 October 2005

The flag is a square, this indicates that it is a military flag. There is no eagle depicted but a falcon instead. The Saladin falcon or the Quraish falcon is depicted in the coat of arms of those Arabian states, that built the so called "United Arab Republic", i.e. Egypt, Libya, Syria and Iraq, also in the flag of Egypt. The Quraishis are the tribe the prophet Muhammad belonged to. The red colour shows that it is neither air force (celestial blue) nor navy (dark blue). So it has to be army or ministry of defence. The heraldry of the depicted flag is influenced by the heraldry of US-flags, see for example ZNAMIEROWSKI: "Flaggen-Enzyklopedie" (ISBN 3-7688-1251-0) p.69 and p.70. There are depicted the flags of the secretary of war(p.69) and the secretary of defence(p.70) which seems to be the same. Like the eagle in the US-flags the falcon holds a bundle of thunderbolts or arrows in his left claw (fly end) as a symbol of war and a branch of an olive tree in his right claw (hoist) as a symbol of peace. I suppose, it is a flag of the new armed forces of Iraq which are rebuilt by the US-forces since 2001. There are only three stars. This seems to indicate a lower rank of the Iraqi secretary of defence. It may also be the rank flag of a 3-stars general of the Iraqi army.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 24 October 2005

World War 2 flag

[UFE from WW2] by Philippe Rault

This is a picture of a WW II "patchwork" flag that an English patient of mine found in her attic, and that she wishes to sell. I have already seen pictures of patchwork flags, mainly of WW I, but in 40 years of study of vexillology I had never seen a flag like this. It is in wool, 4x6', and in good condition. Any information and comments about this flag would be welcome.
Philippe Rault, 3 October 2004

Unknown flag with flames

[UFE with flames] by Renaud

I am a French militaria collector and I possess this flag. Could you help me to identify it? Perhaps it is a XIXth century, German flag?
Renaud, 30 August 2004

The flames strongly suggest a Swiss regiment in foreign service, but I am afraid I cannot place it. It is not French. The two-headed eagle doesn't seem quite right for the Austrian Empire.
T.F. Mills, 1 September 2004

Just a wild guess: The county of Hohenberg (which was located in what is now central Baden-Württemberg in Germany) used a white-red shield like the breast shield on the eagle. Hohenberg belonged to Austria until 1805. The double eagle could be Austrian. However, that's my complete extent of knowledge on this matter.
Stefan Schwoon, 1 September 2004

The flamed gyronny flag is traditional in Central-Europe, but the arms are also of the Hanzestadt Luebeck in Northern-Germany. And in the Regions in East-Schleswig-Holstein one can find shields gyronny in white and red.
Hans van Heijningen, 30 October 2004

The double eagle seem to suggest Russia. The crowns on the heads are however, not Russian. The colours indicate Poland, and the crowns seem similar to the crown on the Polish eagle. Hence, my guess is, that there is a Polish connection here, e.g., Poland during the time of Russian "occupation" prior to WWI.
Lennart Eriksson, 25 January 2005

UFE seen in antique store in California

[UFE seen in antique store in California] by Michael Smuda

I spotted the attached flag in an antique store here in Woodland. It is unidentified and is priced at $50.00 US. It is a swallowtail. Starting at the hoist are red, white and blue vertical bands approx 4-1-4 to about half the lenght. The tail portion is divided into red, white and blue horizontal bands at about the same ratio of 4-1-4. I didn't get exact measurements, if they are important I can go back.
Any ideas?
Michael P. Smuda, 12 August 2004

British White Ensign with golf clubs?

During BBC coverage of the Open at Troon (Scotland) I noticed a flag on the clubhouse flag pole which seemed to be a White Ensign with crossed golf clubs in the bottom left hand quadrant. I suspect it might have a connection to Duke of York who is president(?) of the Royal & Ancient but haven't found anything to confirm this. Can any of your experts shed any light on this?
Jim Drysdale, 21 July 2004

Flag seen in a neighbourhood in Sweden

[UFE seen in Sweden]

I frequently see a flag on a house in my neighbourhood that is decidedly out of place. It looks like a standard Czech flag, but has a single rather large 5-pointed white star in the middle of the blue triangular field.
Martin H., 28 June 2004

It looks a lot like Texas too.
Roger Yonkin, 09 January 2006

Flag on ship Cadzow Castle

Looking for assistance in identifying the shipping line for which the Cadzow Forest sailed. She was a bark, built in Glasgow, Scotland, by Russell & Co. in 1878 and hauled cargo between Britain and Australia from 1878-1896. She was eventually wrecked at the mouth of the Columbia River (USA) in 1896. The flag is described as "A house flag, of a white ground, with a red cross edged with blue, and blue letters.
George Hubbs, 29 April 2004

Black flag, yellow rectangle

I've seen a flag, hoisted on a big motorboat, in the Netherlands. It's a black flag, with a yellow rectangle in the middle. I hope you know where this flag stands for.