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Dictionary of Vexillology: B (Beach Flag - Birlinn)

Last modified: 2013-12-03 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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BEACH (SAFETY or WARNING) FLAG (or PENNANT)
A flag or pennant from one of several different systems for signalling the condition of a beach, the state of the ocean or weather at that particular point, and/or to what degree bathing safety precautions are in place – a bathing or surfing flag/pennant, a weather or weather-warning flag/pennant, a shark alert or alarm flag/pennant, a wind, windsurf or windsurfing danger flag/pennant or similar (see also ‘red flag 1)’ and ‘storm warning flag’).

beach flags
Some Beach Flags and Pennants, UK, The Netherlands, Portugal and France (fotw)


BEAKED
The heraldic term which may be used when the beak of a bird or a bird-like creature is of a different tincture than the body (see also ‘appendix V’, ‘armed 2)’, ‘attired’, ‘gorged’, ‘jelloped’, ‘langued’, ‘membered’ and ‘tincture’).

beaked flag beaked flag beaked flag
Flag of Filisur, Switzerland (fotw); Arms and Flag of Brandenburg, Germany (fotw)


BEAM CROSS
An accurate but seldom used translation (balken meaning a “balk”, “bar” or “beam” of wood) of the German term balkenkreuz - see ‘balkenkreuz’.

Balkenkreuz


BEAM(S)
1) An expanding stripe (or stripes) which usually - but not exclusively - expand from a central point in order to represent a shaft (or shafts) of light – rays – but see ‘radiating 1)’ (also ‘expanding stripe(s)’).
2) A term sometimes incorrectly used to describe a stripe (or stripes) in place of the heraldic equivalents – see ‘bar’, ‘bend’, ‘fess’ and ‘pale’.
3) The term may also be used to describe a horizontal arm such as those seen on an anchor, cross or yard (see also ‘cross 1)’ and ‘yard’).
4) See ‘beamed’.

beamed beamed beamed beamed
Flag of the Air Force, Russia (fotw); Emblem and Flag of P’ing-tun, Taiwan (fotw); Flag of Kryhlakivka, Ukraine (fotw)


BEAMED
A term sometimes incorrectly used in place of pointed - see ‘pointed’ (also ‘rays 1)’).

BEARING
See ‘charge’ and ‘charged’.

BEAUFORT
An early 18th Century alternative term, now obsolete, for bunting – see ‘bunting 1)’ (also ‘bewper’ and ‘breadth 2)’).

BECKET
A loop at the end of the hoist line of a flag that fastens to a toggle at the end of the halyard when hoisting a flag – a running eye – but see ‘eye splice’ (also ‘halyard’, ‘hoistline’, ‘running eye and toggle’ and ‘toggle’).

[becket]


BED SHEET FLAG (or BSF)
See ‘logo on a bed sheet’.

Idaho
Flag of the State of Idaho, US (fotw)


BEEF PENNANT
See ‘bullock pennant’.

Please note, information suggests that this term - a direct translation of the French "flamme de boeuf" - may have ceased after 1792, however, this is not certain and no equivalent signal can be found in contemporary British naval sources. Nonetheless supply vessels of the late 19th and early 20th Century which were carrying foodstuffs to the Royal Navy are known to have flown a ’beef flag’.


BELAYING PIN
An increasingly obsolete method of securing the halyard by means of movable vertical pins (fitted into a frame or rack at the foot of the mast) and now largely replaced by the cleat - a tack pin or jack pin (see also ‘cleat’ and ‘halyard’).

Belaying pin example
Wikipedia


BEND
The heraldic term for a diagonal stripe which runs for the upper dexter to the lower sinister of a shield, a banner of arms or any quartering thereof, and which (in strict heraldic usage) should occupy about one-third of the field when charged, and one-fifth when plain – but see ‘Appendix VI’, ‘Appendix IX’ and ‘descending diagonal’ (also ‘banner of arms’, ‘dexter’, ‘in bend’, ‘per bend’, ‘quartering 1)’, ‘sinister’ and ‘triangular panel 2)’).

Bend Strasbourg
Example; Flag of Strasbourg, France (fotw)


BEND SINISTER
The heraldic term for a diagonal stripe which runs for the lower dexter to the upper sinister of a shield, a banner or arms or any quartering thereof, and which (in strict heraldic usage) should occupy about one-third of the field when charged, and one-fifth when plain – but see ‘Appendix VI’, ‘Appendix IX’ and ‘ascending diagonal’ (also ‘banner of arms’, ‘dexter’, ‘in bend sinister’, ‘per bend sinister’, ‘quartering 1)’, ‘sinister’ and ‘triangular panel 2)’).

Fire Brigade, Austria Franekeradeel
Badge of the Fire Brigade, Austria (official website); Flag of Frankerandeel, The Netherlands (fotw)


BEND ON (or BEND ONTO)
(v) A nautical term for securing two pieces of rope together as in attaching the hoistline of a flag to the halyard of a flag pole or mast (see ‘halyard’ and ‘hoistline’).

BENDLET and BENDLET SINISTER
A diminutive of bend and bend sinister, nominally half the width of a bend but often much narrower, sometimes wavy and usually (but not invariably) appearing in numbers of two or more see ‘Appendix VI’.

Grolley CH Prasdorf DE Prasdorf DE
Flag of Grolley, Switzerland (fotw); Arms and Flag of Prasdorf, Germany (heraldry of the world & fotw)


BENDLET WAVY and BENDLET SINISTER WAVY
See ‘bendlet and bendlet sinister’.

Breenbek DE Wesenberg DE
Flag of Bredenbek, Germany (fotw); Arms of Wesenberg, Germany (fotw)


BENDWISE (or BENDWISE SINISTER)
See ‘in bend’ and ‘in bend sinister’.

Eiken CH
Flag of Eiken, Switzerland (fotw)


BENDY
1) The heraldic term for the division of a shield, a banner of arms or any quartering thereof, into four or more usually (but not invariably) equal bends or bendlets, and running from the upper dexter to the lower sinister in alternating tinctures – but see ‘Appendix VI’, ‘bend’ and ‘multi-stripe’ (also ‘banner of arms’, ‘dexter’, ‘quartering 1)’, ‘sinister’ and ‘tincture’).
2) See ‘wavy’.

bendy Šmarje pri Jelšah Šmarje pri Jelšah
Example; Flag and Arms of Šmarje pri Jelšah, Slovenia (fotw)


BENDY SINISTER
The heraldic term for the division of a shield, a banner of arms or any quartering thereof, into four or more usually (but not invariably) equal bends or bendlets, and running from the lower dexter to the upper sinister in alternating tinctures – but see ‘Appendix VI’, ‘per bend sinister’ and ‘multi-stripe’ (also ‘banner of arms’, ‘dexter’, ‘quartering 1)’, ‘sinister’ and ‘tincture’).

bendy sinister Wasseramt
Example; Flag of Wasseramt, Slovenia (fotw)


BENT
See ‘embowed’.

Fischbach
Flag of Fischbach, Switzerland (fotw)


BETHEL FLAG
The flag of the Bethel Union, a seaman’s missionary organization, and occasionally flown in the 19th Century by some British and US merchant vessels to indicate that a church service was taking place (see also ‘church pennant’ and ‘flying angel flag’).

[Bethel flag] [Bethel flag]


BETSY ROSS FLAG
A pattern of the stars and stripes whose canton carried thirteen five-pointed stars arranged in a circle, which according to legend was ordered by George Washington in 1776 and sewn by Betsy Ross of Philadelphia (see also ‘continental colours’, ‘eagle standard’, ‘Franklin flag’, ‘great star flags’, ‘old glory’, ‘quincunx’, ‘stars and stripes’ and ‘star-spangled banner’).

[Betsy Ross flag]
The Betsy Ross Pattern US National Flag (fotw)

Please note that the US flag had no official star pattern until 1818, at which time the 20-star flag (and all subsequent flags) had official patterns for military purposes. Since 1918 (the 48-star version), the flag has had an official pattern for all purposes, therefore, the type above is likely one of many patterns used during the period 1777-1795.


BEWPER (OR BEWPERS)
A 17th Century term, now obsolete, for bunting (see also ‘bunting 1)’).

BEZANT (OR BESANT)
The heraldic term for a particularly (but not exclusively) gold or yellow disc – a roundel or (see ‘hurt’, ‘roundel 3)’, ‘plates’ and ‘torteau’).

example Duke of Cornwall Harelbeke, Belgium Geuensee, Switzerland
From left: example; Standard of the Duke of Cornwall, UK (fotw); Flag of Harelbeke, Belgium (fotw); Flag of Geuensee, Switzerland (fotw)

Please note that in strict English heraldic usage this term should only be employed when the charge described is gold/yellow (“or”) - see ‘tinctures’ in ‘appendix III’.


BICOLOUR (BICOLOR or BI-COLOUR)
1) A flag of two even or uneven stripes or bands of colour (whether divided vertically, horizontally or diagonally) and whether defaced or plainbut see note below (also ‘ascending diagonal 2)’, ‘descending diagonal 2)’, ‘per fess’, ‘per bend’, ‘per bend sinister’, ‘per pale’, ‘deface’, ‘plain 2)’ and ‘stripe’).
2) An undefaced flag with two equal (vertical or horizontal) stripes or bands of colour – a simple bicolour (see also ‘undefaced’).

Bicolour [Poland] Bicolour [Haiti] Bicolour [Portugal] Bicolour [Rome] Bicolour [Sicily] Bicolour [Bhutan]
From left: National Flag of Poland (fotw); National flag of Haiti (fotw); National Flag of Portugal (fotw); Flag of Rome, Italy (fotw); Flag of Sicily (fotw); National Flag of Bhutan (fotw)

Please note that the division line on a bicolour may be described by using the vexillogical terms: horizontal or vertical, by 'descending diagonal' and 'ascending diagonal'; or by the corresponding heraldic terms (party/divided): 'per fess', 'per pale', 'per bend' and 'per bend sinister'.


BILLET
The heraldic term for a small rectangular charge usually (but not invariably) shown upright - but see ‘billetty’.

example Baarle-Nassau
Example; Flag of Baarle-Nassau, The Netherlands (fotw)


BILLETTY
The heraldic term sometimes used to describe a semé of billets – see ‘billet’ and ‘semé’.

Chastre, Belgium  Vodice, Slovenia  Franche-Comté, France  Kampenhout, Belgium
Flag of Chastre, Belgium (fotw); Arms of Vodice, Slovenia (fotw); Flag of Franche-Comté; France (fotw); Flag of Kampenhout, Belgium (fotw)


BIRLINN
See ‘lymphad’.

birlinn
Badge of The Western Isles Council, Scotland


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