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Royal Air Force flag: timeline for introduction

Last modified: 2005-03-12 by rob raeside
Keywords: royal air force | raf |
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Detailed timeline for adoption of RAF flag

The sequence of events went something like this:

David Prothero and Ian Sumner, 6,7 October 2004

17 April 1919 report

What is strange is that Seeley (in a letter in AIR 2/155) also says that the original alterations were made at the suggestion of the King. I suppose if you're King, you can change your mind whenever you want... I also note that the RAF were referring to the (blue) cross as a St. Michael's cross, to try and differentiate between the proposed flag and the White Ensign, with its (red) St. George's cross.

There is an example of the flag in the Imperial War Museum. The story that it was flown from the Air Ministry building on Armistice Day 1918 comes from Ray Allen in an article in Flag Bulletin vol.26 (1-3) pp.6-12. I suspect that the information will have appeared on the item's record card at the Museum, so someone, at some time, at the IWM must have believed it to be true, even though the chronology appears at odds with the archive record. I couldn't find any orders or invoices for this flag at the PRO, however, even though there was material on some of the other suggested designs.

Ian Sumner, 7 October 2004

Two shades of blue?

This is no longer the case. Thomas Woodcock, Somerset Herald, stated in 'The Oxford Guide to Heraldry' (Oxford Univ. Press, 1988) p.198, that the tincture bleu celeste was introduced into English heraldry by the College of Arms after the Second World War specifically because of badges and awards to RAF units and personnel.

Ian Sumner, 7 October 2004


See also:

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