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House flags of British shipping companies

Last modified: 2015-08-11 by rob raeside
Keywords: house flag | united kingdom | trawlers | inflammable liquid |
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House flags of trawler companies

Sources on the house flags of trawler companies are very few and far between. The only one I know of is the 1911 edition of Olsen's Fishermen's Nautical Almanack, which had small pictures of some flags in the page margins.
Ian Sumner, 8 December 2006

Vessels Carrying Inflammable Liquid

[Flag for Vessels Carrying Inflammable Liquid] image by Miles Li, 24 October 2009

In many jurisdictions historically under the British Empire, vessels carrying a cargo of inflammable liquid (i.e. tankers) are 'traditionally' required to fly a red square flag with a white central disc while in port during daylight (and a red light at night). The exact specifications are up to individual port authorities, but typically the flag should be no less than three feet (90 cm) each side, with the disc no less than six inches (15 cm) diameter; except for small inshore vessels, which may instead display on a tall pole a metal 'flag' no less than one-and-a-half feet (45 cm) each side, with the disc no less than six inches (15 cm) diameter.
   In practice the metal version is by far the more common, since most vessels with a proper yardarm would simply fly the International Signal Flag 'B', or even a plain red rectangular flag for that matter.
Miles Li, 24 October 2009

African Slave Trader flag

[Slave trader flag] image by Rob Raeside, 20 July 2015

Based on, located by Victor Lomantsov, 20 July 2015:

"This flag with the figure of an African man with his staff in flowing robes was removed from the slave ship, which was seized off the east coast of Africa."


Flag of an African Slaver. It is appliquéd with a figure of an African, holding a staff, in brown fabric. His garments and the ribbons on the staff are fluttering in the breeze, mirroring the wind blowing out the flag. The figure is shown with a protruding tongue. Inscribed on an associated paper label: ‘Flag taken from a slaver captured off the east coast of Africa & sent to my father (W H Wylde of the Foreign Office) by Commodore Eardley Wilmot.’ William Henry Wylde (1819-1909) was a superintendent of the Commercial, Consular and Slave Trade departments of the Foreign Office 1869-80 and was a member of the commission which sat in London, 1865, to revise Slave Trade Instructions. Arthur Parry Eardley Wilmot (1815-1886) was employed in anti-slavery operations off West Africa— in Harlequin 1850-53 and as Commodore in Rattlesnake 1862-66. He was promoted to flag rank in 1870. His naval career ended shortly afterwards when his ship Agincourt struck a rock near the bay of Gibraltar. William Wylde’s involvement with anti-slavery operations continued into the 1870s when the British moved to suppress the trade in Zanzibar.
Rob Raeside, 20 July 2015

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