Why was the ensign on the stern's fantail flown only during the day?


Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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They followed the practice of the Royal Navy, which flew the ensign only during daylight hours. If out of sight of land or other ships, the ensign could be taken down. There were special rules about raising the ensign in port, but the ensign still came down at sunset.

I don't know how well the rules are followed today. Some of the scruffy ensigns I see look as if they were hoisted ten years ago and left there. Cyprus, I'm looking at you!
 
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Jim Currie

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Ensigns were flown from sunrise to sunset. An ensign was the indication of a ship's nationality Therefore they were flown when in sight of land or when in sight of a warship. It was standard practice to "dip" the ensign to a warship as a sign of respect. They were seldom flown out of sight of land for the practical purpose that doing so caused them to become tattered by the winds and very often covered in black soot from a coal burner's funnel.
They were usually flown from the stern but some vessels hoisted them on a gaff mounted on the aft end of the mainmast.
There were a number of very strict rules to be followed, some of which attracted a fine. here are the main ones:
flags.jpg

1 (a) always puzzled me... how did one know if the C/O of the other ship was on "full pay".:(
 
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May 3, 2005
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1 (a) I'm puzzled, too.....What would be the case of the C/O of the other ship not being on "full pay" ? ...... "half pay" or "no pay" ???
 
May 3, 2005
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I am also curious as to the term " His (Her) Majesty's Ship" (HMS) , as in HMS Dreadnought , for British Warships ?
Is there some precedent or custom for this , such as why not "UKS" for "United Kingdom Ship" instead, as in USS (United States Ship) in the U.S. Navy ?

There is another item which might be curious to some, that ships , mainly those used as troop transports, were designated as "USNS" (United States Naval Ship) instead of "USS" , such as the USNS General Daniel I. Sultan (TAP-120). These were ships, some of them which were formerly ocean liner passenger ships , which were used for transportation of troops below , but also had cabins topside for officers and their families. At one time these were ships of The Military Sea Transport Service (MSTS) and were manned by civilians .
 

mitfrc

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Warships were the property of the Crown, not the country. This echoes back to Kings being the supreme warlord of a nation.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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I am also curious as to the term " His (Her) Majesty's Ship" (HMS) , as in HMS Dreadnought , for British Warships ?
Is there some precedent or custom for this , such as why not "UKS" for "United Kingdom Ship" instead, as in USS (United States Ship) in the U.S. Navy ?

There is another item which might be curious to some, that ships , mainly those used as troop transports, were designated as "USNS" (United States Naval Ship) instead of "USS" , such as the USNS General Daniel I. Sultan (TAP-120). These were ships, some of them which were formerly ocean liner passenger ships , which were used for transportation of troops below , but also had cabins topside for officers and their families. At one time these were ships of The Military Sea Transport Service (MSTS) and were manned by civilians .
Hi Robert. Almost all the ships operarted by the MSTS and the Miltary Sealift Command are USNS designated. There are some exceptions but most USNS. When I was on station in the Indian Ocean we had unreps 1-2 times a week. Fuel oil tankers, JP tankers, supply ships and when things looked like they were going to go hot ammo ships came out and we topped off our magazines. All those ships that came to us were USNS.
 

Jim Currie

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1 (a) I'm puzzled, too.....What would be the case of the C/O of the other ship not being on "full pay" ? ...... "half pay" or "no pay" ???
By my "puzzle" I was being facetious, Robert.

I meant that in the event you did not comply with the rule, was it an excuse to claim your reason for not complying was because you did not know the pay level of the officer in charge of the ship you were supposed to "dip" to?

In fact, "half pay" officers were really reserve officers of the Army and Navy during the 18th and 19th centuries. Thye received half pay with the understanding that they could be recalled to duty at His Majesty's pleasure.
 

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