The Union Flag
The Union Flag (or Jack, to use its naval term) is possibly
the flag with the most specifications that we will cover in this website. To
start with the flag’s dimensions if flown correctly are 2:1, so if your flag is
3 feet in width, the length must be 6 feet.
The Union Flag has also undergone through the most changes
and has been flown the most different ways. In 1603, the Union of the Crown of
Scotland and England took into effect, in 1606, the Union Flag was made up of a
St Andrews Cross background with a St George in the foreground, although that
is only half the story, in Scotland there was an unofficial flag that promoted
the St Andrews cross to the foreground that was flown in Scotland. This flag is
traditionally just called the Flag of Great Britain.
The next flag to emerge was the protectorate flag which was
the 1606 flag with an Irish ensign on the middle where the St George Cross met.
It was joined with the “Arms of Ireland to represent the entire island.
In 1801 the cross of St Patrick was added to the Union Flag
to show a similar design to what we have today. It was at that stage the flag
of the Island’s of Great Britain
In 1922, the flag became to represent the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The flag is also found in the “canton” the upper left hand
corner of many national flags that have either had protectorate status or have
been part of the British Commonwealth at some
time. Current examples of these flags are New
Fiji and Bermuda.
Not to mention many ensigns and flags of Armed forces that were operating under
The flag was also used in the canton for flags that have
been retired such as South Africa,
Canada, Kenya, Palestine,
Cyprus, Burma and Hong Kong.
and Northern Ireland
the flag is favoured by Unionists. (People who want to keep the UK as the UK
and do not favour a separation of either Northern
Ireland or Scotland
from the United Kingdom)
In recent years it has also been favoured by the far right political parties.
We of course do not endorse this use of the flag.
In the United
Kingdom the flag has to be flown in the
“most superior position” and there is a correct way to fly the flag, flying it
the wrong way round or upside down indicates distress. There are also certain
flag days where the Union Flag is to be flown. (In Scotland the notable exception is
St Andrews Day, if only one flagpole is available)
The Flag is the main flag associated with the Armed Forces
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
and is also the flag that represents the UK in the European Union.
William S. Mc Cafferty