Blue Ensign in it's plain undefaced form is a prestigious alternative to the
British merchant fleets
Red Ensign granted by authority of a warrant issued
by the secretary of state for defence to Royal Navy Reserve officers in command
of British merchant ships and fishing vessels . Some Yacht clubs that almost
always have a royal prefix to their names are also allowed to fly it. The
blue ensign began life in the 17th century when it was the flag of the Royal
Navy's Blue squadron .. a white and red one also existed. This
system ended in 1864 and the red ensign was used for merchant ships only, and
the blue ensign for those entitled to them.
All ships and boats in public service,
Police, Customs, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary etc carry blue ensigns defaced with a
badge of their own. This also applies to many former colonies like Australia and
New Zealand , along with UK overseas territories. With the decline of Britain's
merchant marine it is becoming a rare sight on the high seas.
Further reading.... CRW
Flags blue ensign
12 x 16 inch acrylic on canvas
Blue Ensign as evening greeting....