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Danish Naval Flags

Last modified: 2003-07-12 by edward mooney jr.
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Danish Naval Jack

[Jack of Denmark]  56:107 by Edward Mooney, Jr.

Neither Sweden nor Denmark uses a square version of the national flag as a jack. Both countries use the forked flag as both jack and ensign. It appears from photos that, though the jacks are smaller than the ensigns, they have the same proportions.
Tom Gregg 07-August-1998

Marine Ministry

Defence flag manned by civilians (naval auxiliary ensign)

[Marine Ministry] 56:107 by Paige Herring 23 April 1998

This ensign was introduced by Royal resolution of 11 August 1916 for use by vessels that were not warships but were nonetheless operated by the Ministry of Defence (formerly known as the Ministry of the Navy, 'Marineministeriet'). The vessels using the ensign was charged with maintaining light houses and light ships, sea marks, etc. Royal resolution of 8 September 1916 extended the use of the ensign to the pilot service as well. The flag is listed in Christian Fogd Pedersen's 1979 flag book, and is presumably still in use.
Paige Herring 23 April 1998

State flag with crowned anchor in canton. Paige Herring's image has the anchor yellow (golden), while in Album des Pavillons the metal part of the anchor is blue, although crossbar and rope are still golden. Was something changed in the mean time? Or may it be similar to the Belgian yacht ensign, one version is prescribed and other is used? I am not quite satisfied by either Armand's [Defence flag manned by civilians] nor Paige's [Marine Ministry] titles to this flag. Both imply that it goes for kinds of warships and additional explanation is needed (so that there is no need to ask why then ---/- S-). However, I find no suitable name. The fact that this ensign is hoisted by light-house authorities and pilot vessels is much more important than the fact that they are under auspices of the Defence Ministry (anyway, pilots are not).

Regarding the red shade, this one is dark (would it be normal red used by pilots? I think not.)
Zeljko Heimer, 10 June 2001

Flaggenbuch (1939) reported 'Ensign used by vessels subordinated to the Ministry of Marine and used as fireships (?) or seamarks, including the lightships but not the geodesic ships (service ensign without emblem). The ensign was also used by ships and vehicles used as pilots.' In the correction (1941), caption was shortened to 'Ensign used by vessels and vehicles subordinated to the Ministry of Marine but not belonging to the Navy and by the cutters of the Navy.'
Ivan Sache, 11 June 2001

[Marine Ministry] 56:107 by Jaume Ollé

The anchor (but not crossbar) is coloured blue in Album des Pavillons. Another difference is in the shape of the crown. The image by Jaume Ollé has the "standard" Danish crown here, but the Album des Pavillons version show a different crown (both here and on Minister of Defence flag, showing the same device). It is hard to judge from the small sized crown on the badge, but it seems to be that it is so called sometimes "naval crown" - consisting of sailboats. In any case, the crown is not "closed" like the standard royal crown. It may be that it is an artefact of printing, anyway.
Zeljko Heimer, 12 June 2001

I haven't encountered that one so far; now things get complicated: Politikens Flagbog gives for the Ministry of Defence a splitflag with the charge on a square on the cross: In the white square a crowned blue anchor with white wood, foiled red. (A light red flag, but there's no comparison as it doesn't show the warflag.)
Politikens Flagbog and the Danmarksbog give for state vessels (not necessarily defensive/serving the ministry of defence) a splitflag with a white crown in the canton. Obviously there's some overlap in these categories. It may be that nowadays those flags are no longer naval red, and have new imagery, but whatever the current state: Would those naval red flags have had the dimensions of the war flag (if there is indeed a difference)?
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 20 June 2001

Admiralty Rank Flags (19th Century - 1980's)

The admiralty rank flags have been described differently by National Geographic (1917) and Flaggenbuch (1939).  National Geographic shows one more star on each flag than the Flaggenbuch.


[Flag of Admiral]  56:107 by Paige Herring

State split flag with white six-pointed stars. Flaggenbuch (1939) shows two in first quarter and two in third; National Geographic (1917) shows two and one.
Zeljko Heimer
, 12 June 2001

Vice Admiral

[Flag of Vice Admiral]  56:107 by Paige Herring

State split flag with white six-pointed stars. Flaggenbuch (1939) shows two in first quarter and one in third; National Geographic (1917) shows one and one.
Zeljko Heimer
, 12 June 2001

Rear Admiral

[Flag of Rear Admiral] 56:107 by Paige Herring

State split flag with white six-pointed stars. Flaggenbuch (1939) shows one in first quarter and one in third; National Geographic (1917) shows only one star in first quarter.
Zeljko Heimer
, 12 June 2001

Flotilla Admiral

The Flotilla Admiral used a 56:107 state flag with one white six-pointed star in the first quarter (Flaggenbuch, 1939). National Geographic (1917) shows the Commodore with a triangular swallow-tailed Dannebrog pennant.
Zeljko Heimer, 12 June 2001

Senior Officer Afloat

Triangular cut pennant with split tail (i.e. trapezoid with indentation) approximate ratio 2:3 with indentation reaching 2/3 of hoist size, pennant width at fly about 1/4 of hoist, width of indentation at fly equal to width of white cross (Flaggenbuch, 1939). National Geographic (1917) shows a triangular Dannebrog, ratio 3:4~
Zeljko Heimer, 12 June 2001

Officer replacing Admiral

Similar to senior officer afloat, but rather longer (1:3~). Note to the figure in Album des Pavillons explains that the same is used also for Chief of Group.
Zeljko Heimer, 12 June 2001

Chief of Squadron

Size 2:3, similar to senior officer afloat, but entire fly part as far as the indentation reaches is white (so Dannebrog only near hoist).
Zeljko Heimer, 12 June 2001

Danish Pilots

[Danish Pilots] by Paige Herring 23 April 1998

The flag used by a ship to request a pilot. This flag is shown somewhat differently in later sources than the Flaggenbuch (for instance Pedersen 1970 and 1979). Here the field within the border is square and red with a white cross throughout, that is, it is not in the shape of the Dannebrog.
Paige Herring
23 April 1998

Pilots don't use this type of flag any more for identifying themselves, and the call for a pilot is nowadays not made by flag. Is this flag still authorized?
Zeljko Heimer, 10 June 2001

Album des Pavillons (2000) does not have the white bordered pilot flag present although it was still in the 1995 issue and subsequent corrections.
Zeljko Heimer, 12 June 2001

The page Danske Lodser (Danish pilots), based on Maritim kontakt 11, Kommandør Sølling ea., also includes this about flags:

(About Poul Løwenørn who became "Overlods" (pilot authority) 23 December 1796.)

For Løwenørn it was also important to make certain that the qualified and officially appointed pilots would be recognisable as such for the outside world.  Where pilot craft was concerned, most pilots used at that time to fly a red cloth in the white main sail, and Løwenørn had this custom laid down in the multitude of new pilot regulations as an obligation and a right for auhorized pilots only.

He further introduced a pilot flag, of which the upper quarter part was the Dannebrog, while on the rest of the white flag stood painted "LODS" or "PILOT". This pilot flag was used until 1824, when the pilot call flag was changed to the national flag surrounded by a white border. This flag was in valid until 1978.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 20 June 2001

Danish Blue Flag

[Flag of Rear Admiral] by Jan Oskar Engene
Danish Blue Flag

A couple of flag books (from the 1803-8 period), and also some paintings (from the period 1796 to 1848), show a flag with the Dannebrog in the canton of a blue flag. In the flag books this is labelled 'Danish in West Indies'. The flag has been thoroughly discussed by Jan Henrik Munksggard in an article called "Dannebrog i blatt pa danske og norske skip",(Sjöfartshistorisk arbok 1985, pp. 143-205, Bergen, 1986). Munksgaard points out that no official sources can tell us what the flag was, and that the flag is *not* the colonial ensign of the Danish West India. However, he argues that the flag was hoisted as a courtesy ensign on the foretop mast by ships bound for the colony.
Jan Oskar Engene, 1997

See also: