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Flag

admiral, colour and ship

FLAG, the ensign or colours of a ship ; from the Anglo-Saxon fleogon, to fly or float in the wind. Flags borne on the masts of vessels designate the country to which they respectively belong ; and they are likewise made to denote the quality of the officer by whom the ship is com manded.

The supreme flag of Great Britain is the royal standard, which is only to be hoisted when the king or one of the royal family is on board the vessel : the second is that of the anchor on a red field, which characterizes the lord high admiral, or lords commissioners of the Admiralty : and the third is the union flag, in which the crosses of St. George, St. Andrew, and St. Patrick are blended. This flag is ap propriated to the admiral of the fleet.

In the British navy a fleet is divided into three squadrons—the centre, the van, and the rear ; the centre being distin guished by red colours, the van by white, and the rear by blue, and respectively commanded by an admiral, a vice-admiral, and a rear-admiral. When the fleet is very large, there are three divisions in each squadron : and each squadron has then its admiral, vice-admiral, and rear-ad miral, who respectively hold the com mand of its centre, van, and rear divi sions. p. 27.]

The three flags are plain red, white bearing the red cross of St. George, and plain blue ; and the ensign worn by the ship that carries a flag, as well as by every ship belonging to the same squad ron, is always of the same colour as that of the flag-officer commanding it.

By 4 Will. IV. c. 13, § 11, it is enacted that if any person shall hoist, carry, or wear on board any vessel, whether mer chant or otherwise, belonging to any of His Majesty's subjects, without particular warrant for so doing, His Majesty's Jack, commonly called the Union Jack, or any pendant, or any such colours as are usu ally worn by His Majesty's ships, or any flag, jack. pendant, or colour resembling those of His Majesty, or any ensign or colour whatever other than those pre scribed by proclamation, the persons so offending are to forfeit a sum not exceed ing 5001.; and every such flag, colour, &c. shall be forfeited.