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British flags: Foul Anchors

Last modified: 2010-07-02 by rob raeside
Keywords: royal navy | lord high admiral | admiralty | anchor (yellow) |
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[Lord High Admiral flag - 1929] image by Martin Grieve, 1 September 2006

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Admiralty foul anchor

The emblem of the Admiralty is a foul anchor, and it seems that they didn't want anyone else to display one. The type of anchor is the typical one used in heraldry, a stock anchor, traditionally illustrated in two dimensions as if the stock (the wooden beam) is parallel with the arms and flukes, when in reality they are at right angles to each other. The so-called foul anchor is a stock anchor with rope entangling it which would be impractical for use aboard a ship, but has a pleasing appearance. The Admiralty used two ropes, but often only one appears fouling the anchor in coats of arms, in heraldic badges or on flags.
Mike Oettle, 25 May 2007


Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service (not fouled)

[Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service] image by Tom Gregg

I wonder why a foul anchor is not used on the Blue Ensigns of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service, the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service and the Government Service?
    One yacht club has now acquired a foul anchor badge. As originally granted in 1971, the badge of the Medway Cruising Club was just the white horse of Kent, but at some time since then a foul anchor has been added in front of the horse.
David Prothero, 25 May 2007