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Dictionary of Vexillology: C (Cable Number - Captured Flag)

Last modified: 2023-07-03 by phil nelson
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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A code number identifying a precise shade of colour in the system developed by the Color Association of the United States, usually associated with a specific name, and used in the official specifications of US government and military flags.

The term for a charge, particularly an anchor, that is shown complete with its cable – but see ‘foul anchor’ (also ‘charge’).

Minister of Defense - Uruguay Navy Jack - Ecuador
From left: Flag of the Minister of Defence, Uruguay (fotw); Naval Jack of Ecuador (fotw)

See ‘appendix V’

A heraldic term for the mark of difference added to an escutcheon to indicate that the bearer is heir to the owner, or a direct descendent of the family to which the primary coat of arms belongs, or that the person is a member of a related branch of the same family – differencing.

Please note however, that the form these marks take may vary from country to country – for example – the cadency label is used on several British royal banners in deference to (although not in strict accordance with) English heraldic practice, whilst traditional Scottish heraldry is more likely to employ a bordure and other European traditions may change the colour of a charge. It is suggested therefore, that a suitable glossary or heraldic dictionary be consulted for further details (see also ‘armorial bearings’, ‘coat of arms’ and ‘shield’).

[cadency marks]
The cadency marks of the 1st to the 6th son in English heraldry (Parker)

The magic wand of Hermes with two serpents wound around a winged staff; formerly a symbol of the occult and of alchemists (amongst others), it is now more often associated with medical institutions (see also ‘Staff of Asclepius’).

caduceus examples
From left: Flag of the Army Surgeon General and Emblem of the Army Medical Corps, US (fotw)

Please note that this should not be confused with the Staff of Asclepius as referenced above, which has only one snake on an unadorned staff and is symbolic of the medical profession.

Every vessel at sea is allocated an international call sign consisting of at least four letters for identification purposes by any means of signalling available, including flags – see ‘call sign hoist’ below.

Please note that the international call sign is made up of two letters identifying the country of registration and additional flags identifying the particular ship. Most navies also prescribe tactical call signs according to their own naval signal codes and which is used intra-service for operational purposes. Warships also generally hoist their international call signs at the yardarm when entering or leaving harbour (see also ‘yardarm’).

A hoist of signal flags displaying the international call sign of a ship (see also 'call sign', ‘hoist 2)’, ‘making her number’ and ‘signal flag’).

See ‘cross of Calvary’ in ‘appendix VIII’.

See ‘continental colours’.

1) An alternative term for a company colour in some regiments of British and Canadian foot guards (but see also ‘company colour’ and note below).
2) See ‘camp flag’.
3) A term, now largely obsolete, for a small military flag originally used to delineate the boundaries of a regiment&'s encampment and later used in some armies as a company guide flag, to mark turning points in manoeuvring troops (but see also ‘fanion 3)’).

Please note that as far as is known this term is used by the British Grenadier Guards, the Grenadier Guards of Canada and the Governor General’s Foot Guards (also Canada) in place of company colour.

See ‘camp colour 1)’ and ‘company colour’.

In the British and some other army usage, a non-ceremonial flag, often containing the relevant badge against regimental colours, and used to indicate the presence of a unit, Corps or Regiment within a camp or other location – a regimental or headquarters flag (see also ‘badge 3)’, ‘emblem military and governmental’ and ‘regimental colours 2)’).

British Army Air Corps ritish Royal Regiment of Artillery
Camp Flag of the British Army Air Corps (Graham Bartram); Camp Flag of the British Royal Regiment of Artillery (Graham Bartram)

A term used when the central stripe in a vertical triband or tricolour has internal proportions of 1-2-1 as in the Canadian national flag – but see note below and ‘unequal triband’ (also ‘proportions 2)’, ‘pale’ in ‘Appendix VI’, , ‘triband’ and ‘tricolour’).

Canada Northwest Territories, Canada Benαtky and Jizerou, Czech Republic
National Flag of Canada (CS); Flag of North West Territories, Canada (fotw)); Flag of Benαtky and Jizerou, Czech Republic (fotw) 

Please note, it is suggested that the entry on pale and/or a suitable glossary or heraldic dictionary be consulted before using this term, and that if used at all it should apply only to Canadian Flags.

The flag of the Cantabrian independence movement showing a wheel-like emblem that is considered symbolic of the ancient Cantabrians of Northern Spain.

[Cantabrian Lebarum]
The Cantabrian Labarum (fotw)

Bearers of the ‘cantabrum’ - but see below.

It is proposed by some sources that this is the standard used by later Roman Emperors and believed to have been a type of vexillum (see also ‘vexillum’).

Please note - not to be confused with a cantabrian labarum (see 'cantabrian labarum').

An originally heraldic term for when the design on a shield or banner of arms forms a pun on the name or attributes of the entity or person represented – allusive arms or armes parlantes  (see also ‘armorial bearings’).

[Queens Mothers flag - canting]
Standard of her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, UK, the Royal Arms of Great Britain impaled with quartered Bows and Lions for her family name of Bowes-Lyon (fotw)

1) Commonly, all or part of the upper hoist – or first - quarter of a flag’s field that has not vertical divisions and/or otherwise undivided - the canton (see also ‘Appendix I’ and ‘quarter 1)’).
2) A rectangular (or square) area of colour or design different from the field in the above position, which may occupy exactly one quarter of the flag or a larger or smaller area (see also ‘canton flag’ below, ‘covering’, ‘quarter 1)’ and ’Union’).
One of the four quarters of a flag, divided horizontally and vertically into: - corresponding to quarters one to four of a shield divided quarterly (see also ‘Appendix I’, ‘grand quarter’, ‘quarter 2)’, ‘quarterly’, ‘hoist’ and ‘fly’).
4) In heraldry as definition 2) except (although apparently of no fixed size) heraldic use frequently suggests that a canton should occupy one-third of the chief (see also ‘chief’).

[absence example] [absence example] [absence example] [absence example] [absence example]
From left: National Flag of Liechtenstein (fotw); Flag of Kelantan, Malaysia (fotw); National Flag of Liberia (fotw)

1) A term used to describe the canton of a flag, or to describe the flag itself, when its canton consists of another flag, as in for example the civil ensigns of Australia and India, and the island flag of Nevis – a nationally cantoned flag  (see also ‘armorial ensign’, ‘canton 2)’, ‘civil ensign’ under ‘ensign’ and ‘colonial flag’).
2) See ‘cantonal flag’.

canton flags
From left: Civil Ensign of Australia (fotw); Civil Ensign of India (fotw); Flag of the Island of Nevis, St Kitts and Nevis (fotw)

See ‘St George’s Cross 2)’ (also ‘canton flag’ above).

The sub-national flag of a territorial division within a country, particularly if that subdivision is is called a canton - e.g. one of the cantons which make up the Swiss Confederation (see also ‘sub-national flag’).

Posavina, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Flag of Bern, Switzerland (fotw); Flag of Posavina, Bosnia-Herzegovina (fotw)

See ‘cross cantonιe’ in ‘appendix VIII’.

See ‘badge 3)’.

See ‘trophy flag’.

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