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Dictionary of Vexillology: S (Seal - Service Pennant)
Last modified: 2010-01-02 by phil nelson
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- An emblem or design representing a government or person that, when embossed
upon or affixed to a document, proves its authenticity or which validates a legal
instrument. The reproduction of an official seal often appears on US sub-national
flags (see also
sub-national flag and
state flag 2)).
State Seal of Georgia and Minnesota, US (fotw and official)
Please note, that whilst a seal originally showed
the users badge or parts of their armorial bearings (and was used to create an
impression on wax or lead), when seen on flags today it is generally not a coat
of arms as defined herein (see also anti-heraldry).
- SEAL FLAG
- A term for the flag whose main charge consists of a seal as defined herein, set largely (but not
exclusively) on a plain field and most often seen in the flags of US states (see also
plain 2) and seal)
From left: Flag of Utah, US (fotw); Flag of Missouri, US (fotw); Flag of New Hampshire, US (fotw)
Please note that this term has been introduced by the Editors since
no established alternative could be found, and that flags of his type are often derived from
previously established military colours.
- SEAL OF SOLOMON
- See Magen David.
- SECOND COLOUR (or COLOR)
- An old term, now rarely used outside the British and Canadian foot guards,
for the regimental colour (see also
colour 2 and
- SECTOR FLAGS/PENNANTS
- See registration flags.
- See faceted.
- The outer edges of a length of cloth so woven that the threads do not unravel,
and used to minimize the area of a flag which might otherwise be lost through hemming
most particularly in those flags formerly made from breadths of fabric (see also
- 1) A system of signalling by means of two flags hand-held in various positions
according to a recognized code (see also
Morse code signalling with flags and
- 2) A system of signalling by means of movable mechanical arms, now obsolete but
widely used prior to invention of the electric telegraph and at sea sometimes fitted
aboard warships - telegraphing.
- 3) A system of flags, pennants and black shapes hoisted in various positions to
indicate the state and height of the tide in some French ports.
Positions in Semaphore (Jim Croft)
Please note with regard to 2), in British RN usage
ships hoisted a designated semaphore flag to indicate that they were about to make
a signal by means of the mechanical semaphore system.
- SEMAPHORE FLAG
- See 'semaphore 2)', and note.
- An originally heraldic term for where the field of a flag or shield is sown
or strewn over with an indeterminate number of charges such as fleur-de-lis or
National Flag of France 1814 1830 (fotw)
- SEMEION (or SEMEIA)
- A cruciform vexilloid of classical Greece used aboard ship (to indicate command, for
signalling and for identification) and sometimes draped with a phoinikis or purple
cloak/length of cloth (see also standard 5) and
Please note that word semeion had a broad range of meanings in classical
Greek all roughly corresponding to sign (see also signum) and it is accordingly
suggested that the definition given above (whilst based on written sources) must be considered to some
Also please note that semeia is the plural form of semeion, and that classical
Greek writers also refer to barbarian semeia with those of the Phoenicians recorded as having been a globe and
- See demi.
- A fine silk fabric originally used as a field for the finest quality of various
- SENIOR OFFICER AFLOAT PENNANT
- A pennant hoisted to indicate the senior officer's ship when several warships
of the same navy are alongside or at anchor in a port a senior officer present
afloat pennant (see also 'broad pennant',
'command pennant' and
'flag of command').
It should be noted however, that many different designs are in use by different
navies, and that these might also have differing or additional meanings.
From left: Argentina (CS); Estonia (CS); France, French Forces
Please note that a green, white and green square-ended
pennant the starboard pennant in the NATO signal code - is used for this purpose
(at the starboard yardarm) by all warships of the Alliance, but usually only when
there is no flag officer present who is flying his flag afloat. It is, however,
also employed to indicate the senior officer when ships of more than one NATO
navy are present in a port, irrespective of whether any flags of command or broad
pennants are flying.
The NATO Starboard Pennant (CS)
- SERAPIS FLAG
- See Franklin flag
- 1) The vexillogical term for a saw-toothed line on a flag or a charge so
shaped a zigzag indented or dancetty (see also
- 2) A term that may be used for a saw-toothed stripe a zigzag (see also wavy).
National Flag of Bahrain (fotw); Civil Ensign of Taiwan (fotw); Flag of Mir, Belarus (Viktor Lomantsov)
Please note that with regard to 1) the five white points on the flag
of Bahrain (illustrated above) refer to the five pillars of Islam.
- SERVICE FLAG
- 1) See state flag 1) (also
state service flag).
- 2) See ensign 2) and government ensign
- 3) In US usage, a flag (instituted in 1926) flown annually at the Capitol, Washington on Armistice Day
(11 November) to commemorate those who served or are serving in the armed services of that country an
American war mothers flag.
- 4) In largely North American usage, a flag - based upon the design of 3) above - authorized for display by families, employers,
or other organizations to signify that one or more members is serving in the armed
forces a sons in service flag.
From left: Armistice Day Flag, US (official website); Service Flags US (fotw); Canada (CS)
Please note with regard to 4) that a gold star (as illustrated above) or emblem indicates that the person being represented
has died in service.
- SERVICE OF CONSECRATION
- See consecration.
- SERVICE PENNANT
- The generic term and a direct translation of the German dienstwimpel for an
increasingly obsolete type of pennant that is sometimes flown (in varying forms)
from the mainmast of vessels in government employ to indicate the function or service
involved, or occasionally from an appropriate shore based establishments (see also
The DDR Shipping Inspectorate, 1955-90 (fotw)
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