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Belgium: Naval ensign and jack

Last modified: 2013-08-03 by ivan sache
Keywords: belgium | naval ensign | anchor (black) | crown: royal | cannon | naval jack | masthead pennant |
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Naval ensign

[Belgian Naval ensign]

Naval ensign of Belgium - Image by Mark Sensen, 8 April 2001

On 23 February 1950, the Force Navale received its own ensign, clearly different from the national, state and civil ensigns as well from the yacht ensign.
The ensign shows on a white field a black-yellow-red St. Andrew's cross, with black on left and right, red on top and bottom, yellow in the middle. In the first quarter, two crossed cannons are placed below the black royal crown whereas a black anchor is placed in the fourth quarter.

The ensign reminds the White Ensign of the Royal Navy, from which was formed the Naval Force. The St. Andrew's cross comes from the famous Burgondian saltire, which decorated the ensigns of the Belgian ships during the Burgondian rule. The three colours of the cross are the national ones, the crown is the emblem of the kingdom, the crossed cannons show the ensign is a military one and the anchors symbolize the crews. The war ensign was hoisted for the first time on 2 March 1950. The war ensign in proportion 2:3, with 2.25 x 3.375 m as largest size, flies either on the yard of the mainmast to starboard or on the Gaffel of the Besanmastes.

Source: L. Nyssen. Einige Flaggen der belgischen Marine von 1815 bis heute [nys96], Flaggenkurier [dfk] (1995), also available online.

Ivan Sache, 8 April 2001

A sheet from an unidentified book (bilingual Dutch-French, containing regulations, maybe for the Navy) gives the following dimensions (in cm) for the naval ensign:
- Height of the flag: 225
- Length of the flag: 150
- Width of the stripes: 12 (therefore, width of the saltire is 3 x 12 = 36)
- Height of the guns plus crown: 33
- Width of the guns: 42
- Height of the anchor: 36
- Width of the anchor: 30

Mark Sensen, 8 April 2001

According to the Army Museum (Brussels) fact sheets (text by Dominique Henrard), the 23 February 1950 Decree was signed by the Regent, Prince Charles (Karel), who handed over the ensign on board of Georges Lecointe (former HMS Cadmus) on 2 March of that year.
The size of the ship determines the dimensions of the ensign, varying between 50 cm-150 cm (height) and 75 cm-225 cm (length).

Jan Mertens, 5 January 2007

In Alfred Znamierowski's book The World Encyclopedia of flags (1999 edition) [zna99], the Belgian naval ensign is erroneously shown with the yellow saltire of greater width than the red or black one.

Martin Grieve, 15 May 2005


Naval jack

[Belgian jack]

Naval jack of Belgium - Image by Ole Andersen, 8 April 2001

In an official document, the "description" in French and Dutch says "The jack is a square flag in the national colours" with 2) stating that "It was established by an order of the Prince Regent dated 23 February 1950." There is a construction diagram below this which shows a square tricolour in even stripes, and lower again gives two standard sizes of 1.00 x 1.00 m and 1.50 x 1.50 m.

Christopher Southworth, 7 July 2006


Masthead pennant

[Masthead pennant]

Masthead pennant of Belgium - Image by Željko Heimer

The masthead pennant of the Belgian Navy is a long, rectangular black-yellow-red pennant with split fly (indentation 1/4 of length)

Source: Album des Pavillons [pay00]

Željko Heimer, 27 February 2001