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Dressed in Flags

Discussion in 'Flags' started by Lee Gilliland, Oct 30, 2003.

  1. Lee Gilliland

    Lee Gilliland Member

    I am unsure quite where to put this question, so I'm guessing it belongs here. I know Titanic was dressed in flags only once, but are there times this is traditionally done (Maiden Voyage, anniversary of same, owner's birthday) or was it more or less when the captain felt like it?
  2. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins Member

    Any festive occasion will do. Titanic is said have have been dressed to create a cheerful spectacle to make up for the fact that the ship would not be open for public inspection. It was common for new ships to be opened and funds for charity raised by admitting the public.
  3. Titanic was in fact dressed twice. One during the launch. Flags were SUCCESS and once in Southampton.
  4. Inger Sheil

    Inger Sheil Member

    There has been an assumption by some that dressing the ship in Southampton took place on Good Friday - a recent article in the Commutator addressed this issue, pointing out the unliklihood given that marking the day in that manner might look a little akin to something smacking of 'Papism'. It provided evidence that the flags were raised the day she arrived in Southampton. I keep meaning to send the THS an extract from a letter describing the hoisting and arrangement of the flags - it was sent by one of the officers the day they arrived, confirming the date, and is a rather attractive description of the event.
  5. Kevin Tischer

    Kevin Tischer Member

    Here's a picture of her dressed in flags for Good Friday:


    My question is how did they get the flags to they wire running between the two masts at the very top? Who's job was that and how did they ever get up there? Would that not be quite dangerous?
  6. Dave Gittins

    Dave Gittins Member

    Since nobody else has answered, I'll have a go.

    They had flag halyards on both masts. They were normally used to hoist single flags. For dressing ship, the flags of the International Code of Signals were joined together. Old textbooks even suggest a suitable order of flags. (You had to be careful not to spell out something you shouldn't. Use your imagination).

    If I'd been in charge, I'd have had several seamen lay out the string of flags on the lee side of the deck, trusting to the wind to blow the flags clear of the radio aerial. Then they could be hoisted carefully, with men detailed to see they didn't catch on deck hardware. It would have been tricky. Note the quite brisk breeze in the photo.

    If Captain Jim can do better, he's welcome to give us his wisdom from experience.
  7. Justin Litke

    Justin Litke Member

    How long were the flags that were put on Titanic on Good Friday there? What did they look like?

  8. Many years ago....It has been over 50 years now. LOL
    While attending the 1965 New York World's Fair I visited RMS Queen Mary and SS France.
    I believe the proceeds from the sales of the admission tickets for visiting RMS Queen Mary went to some kind of a "Seaman's Fund."

    Not sure about ticket proceeds on SS France.

    At that time, these ships represented the oldest and newest in Passenger Ship Designs.

    I had made plans that year to take a trip to England on RMS Queen Mary but cancelled in favor of the World's Fair. After seeing (on my visit ) the Tourist Class (Second Class ?) Cabin on C-Deck that I had made reservations for I was very glad I had cacelled my reservation !

    Years later we stayed at Hotel Queen Mary at Long Beach, CA, USA.
    We stayed in one of the former First Class Cabins on M-Deck.
    I was very glad we did not cancel those reservations !
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  9. Do you have any ideas what they spelled out (if any) ?

    It is probably due to the old camera, film, and exposure, but the name Titanic is not visible in the photograph ?
    Could White Star have re-touched the photograph to block out the name for some reason ?
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  10. Rob Lawes

    Rob Lawes Member

    Dress ship flags are in a random order and don't spell out any codes or messages.

    The Royal Navy actually specified which order Naval dress ship flags were to be placed to make replacing worn out or dirty flags more straight forward. Many times as a young radio operator I had to inspect the dress ship lines and change out dirty or worn flags and pennants, sewing new ones on in their place.
  11. Actually they were placed already on April 4th nothing to do with Good Friday.
    Not sure how long they left them, might have been a day.

    The name is visible, it depends on the photograph. Why would White Star do anything against it? Also how?
    Here a close up from my original:

    2017-12-08 at 21-17-05.png
  12. Justin Litke

    Justin Litke Member

    What is that black thing just above Titanic's name?
  13. It's a board for the painters.