QISMA "dressed overall" on the occasion of the Royal wedding of Prince William in Leeds 2011
THE BRITISH ENSIGNS
In 1627 the English
Fleet (as it was then) was divided into three squadrons, the Red, Blue
and White, in that order or seniority, and each had an English ensign
in the appropriate colour with St George's Cross in the top corner. By
1653 the order of seniority had been changed to Red, White and Blue and
in 1702 a large red cross was placed on the White Ensign to
differentiate it from the French ensign, which at the time was plain
white. Following the introduction of the Union flag, the English St Georges cross was replaced by the the Union of Scotland.
Our most famous Admiral Nelson sailed under both the Blue and White ensign but also became the Vice Admiral of the White Squadron, (which was his favourite).
Trafalgar was fought by the white squadron under the White Ensign in 1805 rather than the Red
or Blue one.
Today there are FIVE British ensigns currently in use, and can be classified into five categories, in descending order of seniority:
the White Ensign the Blue Ensign the Blue Ensign defaced the Red Ensign defaced the Red Ensign
Since the reorganisation of the Royal Navy in 1864,
the White Ensign has been restricted to ships of the Royal Navy and
their boats, although the elite Royal Yacht Squadron also fly the white ensign by
The Blue Ensign was reserved for non-military government ships in possession of a warrant. It is also worn
by Masters of vessels with warrants issed by the Secretary of State for Defence for officers in the active or retired lists of the
Royal Naval Reserve and Naval Service or maritime reserve forces of
other Commonwealth Realms and territories. As such members of the Royal Naval Sailing Association are also issued a warrant for UK registered vessels. Some other Royal or Military Yacht clubs can also be allocated special warrants to wear "Defaced" blue ensigns. Therefore only UK registered vessels in possession from a warrant by the Secretary of State for Defence may therefore legally fly the BLUE ensign.
The Red Ensign undefaced is for the use of all other British Merchant Navy ships and private craft.
(The Red Ensign is the correct flag to be worn as courtesy flag by foreign private vessels in United Kingdom waters.)
QISMA's AUTHORITY TO FLY THE BLUE ENSIGN
PERMIT No 07118
By virtue of the warrant from the Secretary of State for Defence dated 8 February 1985 who in pursuance of the authority vested in him under the provisions of section 2 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 has deemed it expedient to authorise vessels belonging to members of the ROYAL NAVAL SAILING ASSOCIATION to wear the undefaced Blue Ensign, the Flag Officers and Committee do hereby authorise the said ensign to be worn on board
Narrow boat QISMA SSR 142033
owned by ALISTAIR SWATRIDGE a member of the aforesaid Association. signed on behalf of the Flag Officer and Committee dated 5 March 2010