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Tuesday, 24 June 2014


I was wondering what to write about today but then remembered reading that UNESCO have requested ships to fly ensigns at half mast on Saturday 28th June as a sign of mourning to remember those who died during WW1. Further they also invite vessels to sound their whistle/klaxons/horns etc at 1700 UTC (GMT) (Which is 1800 our current BST) to mark the time of when the first shot was fired of that conflict. I assume that many will comply on the canals as well as the high seas. Mind you there seems to be a profusion of flags, many of which are not exactly the correct ensigns to fly. Some get very vexed by incorrect flag etiquette. I suppose by rights we should all fly the red ensign as the canal boats will be registered with C&RT in the UK. There are circumstances where a blue ensign or a blue ensign defaced may be flown, I think for such people who may have been and officer in the Royal Fleet Auxilary or Royal Nay and those belonging to Royal Sailing clubs and the like.

On paddle steamer Waverley.

I have thought about raising a flag aboard 'Holderness' but really decided against it in the end. I toyed with the idea of flying the new East Riding of Yorkshire flag to go with the name and place name. I didn't know we had a separate flag from the rest of Yorkshire but apparently it is a new thing. Of course it should be raised on 1st August every year as it is Yorkshire Day.

East Riding of Yorkshire flag.

I think that if I had a boat the actually had a mast I would seriously consider flying a flag. It seems that the county flags most seen are Cornwall, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire in no particular order.


Then there are the National flags. The Welsh seem to be the most willing to advertise where they are from, and then the Scottish. Mind you I don't know why they need bother as normally you only need to hear them speak to know! The Antipodeans also seem to carry there ensigns and I have also seen Norwegian and Danish flags. There seem to be many people from America that are interested in our canals and so many must come over on holiday but I don't think I have seen a Stars and Stripes on the cut despite talking to many and I admire the way they fly the flag so much in the States. I wish the St George's flag of England was flown much more now it has been reclaimed from the BNP, EDL and other organisations that brought it into disrepute.

I remember during my apprenticeship it was our job to dip the ensigns when passing warships and other Company ships. It would mean racing down to the stern and waiting till almost passing then running the flag down, waiting until they reciprocated and then bringing it back up to the fly. I haven't seen that done in 35 years now. We also had to raise and lower the flags every day and keep them clean and tidy and many smoke-o's were spent sticking up the tattered fly of flags. Maybe that is why I don't want to fly a flag on the boat!

St George's Flag, the Flag of England.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tony, I thought about you before we left NZ when I ordered flags for Waka Huia - a silver fern of course, and a marine ensign. I had never heard of the latter as being different, but it has a red background instead of blue. So far, we haven't flown the flags, as we don't have a pole and our energies have been focused on sorting out propulsion and electricity issues, but I am now motivated to sort it out, having read this post! Cheers, Marilyn and David