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France: Post flag

Last modified: 2002-11-02 by ivan sache
Keywords: post flag | service postal |
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[Post flag]by Zeljko Heimer

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Description of the flag

Flaggenbuch [neu92] shows the ensign hoisted on vessels used for post service. It is a French Tricolore with the three stripes equally wide (odd for a flag at sea), a short swallow tail (1/3rd of the red stripe) and a small white canton (width: 3/4th of the width of the blue stripe; height: 1/4th of the height of the hoist) bearing in blue


The so-called "post-liners" (paquebots-poste) sailed between France and its colonies during the golden age of steam navigation and colonization, i.e. from ca. 1860 to the Second World War.
The liners were used both for passenger and freight transportation, including post service.

This flag was still shown in the 1995 recapitulative edition of Album des Pavillons [pie90]. The flag was discarded from the next release of Album [pay00], since the maritime post service had been suppressed.

Ivan Sache, 5 November 2000

Originally, the flag was flown on a peculiar position, where the halyard is suspended from the middle of a rope which ends at the jackstaff and the foremast. Later (since the 1930s) it was flown as a jack when in port.

Miles Li, 15 October 2001

Artistic rendition of the flag

[Artistic rendition of the postal ensign]by Ivan Sache

The postal flag is shown on a poster advertising the paquebot-poste of the Messageries Maritimes company, located in Marseilles.

The artistic quality of such posters was very high, and their originals are highly prized by collectors. However, there is some artistic licence in this poster. The postal flag is shown in the poster with the fork extending all over the width of the red stripe and a larger white canton merging with the white stripe.

Ivan Sache, 5 November 2000

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