View Full Version : Royal Navy White Ensign

12-15-2009, 12:58 AM
I am trying to find out more about this flag. All I know about it was what the dealer told me. Which was not a whole lot. He said that it was of WWII vintage and that it had been on a vessel that was involved in the D-Day invasion. I know I will never know for sure much about it. But I am hoping to find out a little more.
Details of the flag: width- 1ft 4in
length- 3ft

01-29-2010, 10:33 AM
The dimensions you give would be for an Admiral's Pennant.
Such a pennant would be used when an admiral was aboard ship, as a Tactical Alert to other vessels in the Task Force, or Squadron.
Forum members more acquainted with matters maritime, and Royal Navy in particular, will hopefully be able to correct me if I'm in error, or add to what little information I have been able to give here.

Regards, Uyraell.

01-29-2010, 03:08 PM
There were a number of versions of the WHite Ensign used by the Rn. They generally incorporated the George Cross. The current White Ensign flown by the RN, i.e. the George Cross and the Union Flag, was the personal standard of Horatio Nelson and was adopted by the RN as a whole to commemorate Nelson's victory over the combined French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Obviously, as it is still flown today by the RN, it would also have been flown on D-Day.




02-05-2010, 03:52 AM
Thank you Uyraell and 32Bravo for your information and links. This is like searching for a needle in a haystack. But now at least I have one idea of where my flag may have flown. Plus more history of the White Ensign which also helps.
I have also in my searching seen some old WWII pictures of Royal Navy motor torpedo boats, landing craft and other auxiliary craft flying White Ensigns that look to be close to the same size. Could it have flown on any of those or was it to small for that?
Also I do not know if this helps any. But some other distinguishing features of my White Ensign are a 3/4 inch brass eyelet ring located 5 inches from the bottom of the flag on what would be the mast side. Also a 1/2 inch rope threaded through the flag and then attached by stitching at the top and bottom of the flag. With a length of roughly 5 feet on top and 3 feet 8 inches on the bottom. At both ends of the rope they are wrapped with thread about 1 inch long to keep the rope from fraying. Hopefully this info will help to figure out what it might have been attached to.

Again thank you both for your help. 105

02-06-2010, 08:08 AM
Hello 105, your info about the rope attached to the pennant suggests three other possibilities, none of which I'm comfortable suggesting, simply because of the rarity of chance they involve.

A:The ensign was flown from a landingcraft, most likely a Landing Craft Infantry, since a Landing Craft Mechanised (tanks or trucks carried) or a Landing Ship Tank would most likely have flown a larger ensign.

B: The ensign was flown from a motor torpedo boat or air-sea rescue launch (same hull as mtb but less well-armed).

C: The ensign was flown from an X-craft (miniature submarine with a crew of 4) some of which waited submerged just offshore (i.e. in less than 20 feet of water) to surface and act as "marker beacons" to the landingcraft approaching the beaches.

I have placed the above alternatives in what I regard as the order of likelihood, from most to least likely.

Dimensionally, I *do* feel it may have been too small for either A: or B: but that's not to say it could not have flown from one of those vessels, as I'm certain it would be a case of "grab what is usable", supplies of such items being at that time not the most organised.

Again, thinking on this far of an extended limb is not the most relaxing of academic pursuits, but it may provide you with further avenues of research.

Kind Regards 105, Uyraell.

02-06-2010, 09:26 AM
The RN had numerous versions of small craft during ww2, some of which were comandeered. The ensign could have been flown on any or all of them.

Perhaps the best source of information will be found here:


02-06-2010, 01:08 PM
Thank you both once again for your continuing help on this.
Uyraell, your information and opinion are much appreciated. As it helps me to narrow down the possiblities and put them in order.
32Bravo, again I much appreciate your opinion and links. I will spend hours learning and enjoying the sites you have provided to me. Also they should be a great starting point in my search to solve the mystery behind the history of this White Ensign.
I thought I would add just a little history of how and why an American in California has a RN White Ensign. I know to the day when my facination with the Royal Navy and its history started. I went to the movies when I was six years old with my dad in 1960 to see "Sink the Bismark". Since that time I have had a great interest in reading, building models, watching movies or documentaries on the Royal Navy. One of my dreams was to someday have a real RN White Ensign. The closest I came before this one was a "Blue Ensign" I bought in 1975 from a shop on the "Queen Mary". About ten years ago when we bought our computer I started my internet searching. But I came up with only reproductions and cheap copies of the White Ensign. Then seven years ago I found this one from an reputable east coast militaria dealer. I paid $140 for it and once I received it I had it preservation matted and framed. All the money well spent for finally having a lifelong dream fulfilled.
Regards to you both. 105