Dressed in Flags


Lee Gilliland

Member
Feb 14, 2003
511
9
183
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?
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Mar 16, 2000
5,055
336
433
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.
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Feb 9, 1999
5,343
67
398
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.
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Mar 16, 2000
5,055
336
433
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.
 

Justin Litke

Member
Apr 1, 2016
13
1
13
How long were the flags that were put on Titanic on Good Friday there? What did they look like?

4423f3fff164d19272e72e15f109835e--southampton-flags.jpg
 
May 3, 2005
2,599
288
278
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.
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:
May 3, 2005
2,599
288
278
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.

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:

Rob Lawes

Member
Jun 13, 2012
1,187
733
208
England
Do you have any ideas what they spelled out (if any) ?

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.
 
Mar 18, 2008
2,631
1,117
248
Germany
How long were the flags that were put on Titanic on Good Friday there?

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.

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 ?

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
 

Similar threads

Similar threads