Last modified: 2002-07-05 by rob raeside
Keywords: civil air ensign | united kingdom | cross |
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by Calvin Paige Herring
One British ensign which less often seen is the Civil Air Ensign. This was intended to be flown at airports
and from landed British aircraft as an equivalent of the
Red Ensign for merchant ships. Its field is light blue (strictly the shade
known in the UK as 'air force blue' as it is used in the ensign of the
Royal Air Force) with a dark blue cross, fimbriated white,
overall. The Union Flag is in the canton. I believe both Australia and New Zealand
have variations with their southern crosses on it (the Australian one had the southern
cross at quite an unusual angle). Could any of our antipodean members comment on
whether theirs are still used much?
Roy Stilling, 15 December 1995
I can report that the UK Civil Air Ensign is indeed still in use. It can be seen flying everyday outside Manchester
Airport's Fire Section. I'll keep my I open for other places I spot it.
Steve Dooley, 22 June 2000
The flag was seen flying outside the headquarters of British Airways at half mast after the Concorde crash in Paris. British Airways flies this flag as well as the Union flag on a mast outside Waterside, the HQ every day.
Jonathan Marriott, 15 July 2001
It is also flown at London's Heathrow Airport at the entrance to the BA
engineering base and at the British Airways Headquarters - Waterside - in
Harmondsworth (near Heathrow).
Ian D Chick, 13 June 2002
Flag 180 by 360 units.
Dark blue cross 18 units.
White fimbriation: 6 units.
Height of the light blue parts: 75 units.
Length of the Union Jack: 165 units
St. George cross: 15 units.
White fimbriation around St. George cross: 5 units.
St. Andrews cross (incl. St. Patrick cross): 15 units.
St. Patricks cross: not given [but when compared with the Union Jacks in other flags: 5 units for the visible red part, 2.5 units for the fimbriation at one side].
Mark Sensen, 17 June 2000
The dimensions given here match the dimensions of a 10 breadth flag (7 ft 6 in x 15ft), expressed in units of half an inch.
David Prothero, 24 June 2000
The flag was instituted by an Order in Council on 11th August 1931. "An ensign called the Civil Air Ensign is the proper national colour to be flown by aircraft and air transport undertakings and at aerodromes." It was promulgated by a Notice to Airmen issued in September.
At the time there were two Royal Air Force regulations about flags on aircraft.
K.R. para.156(3). The ensign will be flown at the stern of all His Majesty's Airships when in the air.
156(7). The ensign will not be flown by flying-boats except when at moorings in foreign waters.
From AIR 2/3370, Civil Aviation Flag, in the Public Record Office.
In 1940/41 British Overseas Airways, ran a flying-boat service from Poole in the South of England to Lagos in Nigeria. One of the stops was on neutral territory in Portugal, and an application was made to fly the Civil Air Ensign from the stern of their launches that attended the flying-boats on the River Tagus. This was refused by the Admiralty who said that they should fly the Red Ensign at the stern but could fly the Civil Air Ensign at the bow or from the yard arm.
David Prothero, 24 June 2000