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Danish Naval Flags

Last modified: 2020-02-15 by rob raeside
Keywords: denmark | danish west indies |
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Marine Ministry

Defence flag manned by civilians (naval auxiliary ensign)

[Denmark: Defence Ships Manned by Civilians]  56:107 by Željko Heimer

The naval ensign defaced in the canton with a blue anchor with golden crossbar and cord and crowned proper. Would this class of ships be what is sometimes referred as the auxiliary naval ships? The Album des Pavillons (2000) clearly shows it as the naval red ensign, presumably because it comes from the same manufacturers as the other naval flags, I guess.
Željko Heimer, 25 May 2004

State flag with crowned anchor in canton. Album des Pavillons and Flaggenbuch (1939) show the metal part of the anchor as blue, although crossbar and rope are still golden. Album des Pavillons calls this the "Defence flag manned by civilians", implying that it goes for kinds of warships and additional explanation is needed. 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.)
Željko 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 Željko Heimer

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

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 war flag.)
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

Danish Pilots

[Danish Pilot ensign] by Željko Heimer

White bordered national flag, as (was) customary for this kind of flags. The caption explains that it is used only as pilot call sign while pilots themselves use ensign 21 (the Naval Auxiliary Ensign). The unusual figures for the ratio are result of adding 14 units of white border all around the standard sized national ensign 70x85 units (30+10+30 x 30+10+45). So:

[Danish Pilot ensign] Željko Heimer, 3 June 2004

The flag used by a ship to request a pilot. This flag is shown somewhat differently in later sources than the Flaggenbuch (1939) (for instance Pedersen (1970) and Pedersen (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?
Željko 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.
Željko 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

Pilot Steamships Signal

[Danish Pilot Steamships Signal] by Željko Heimer

White over red bicolour rectangular flag. If I conclude correctly this flag would be used on one side of the mainmast by these ships as a signal in addition to the Naval Auxiliary Ensign at stern. These may have been abolished from usage until today.
Željko Heimer, 3 June 2004

Danish Blue Flag

[Danish Blue Ensign] 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:

[Danish Blue pennant] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider

There was a triangular version of the blue flag with the Dannebrog in the canton. It is displayed in a painting of C.C. Parnemans(?) 1798, showing the Danish merchantman ST:CROIX PACKET leaving the harbour of Paramaribo (Dutch Guiana/Suriname). The flag is hoisted at the mainmast and it is topped by a small Dannebrog pennant. On the fore- and mizzenmast there are hoisted small ordinary Dannebrogs, upon the bowsprit and the stern there are big rectangular Dannebrog-flags showing on a white rectangle the initials of King Christian VII. In the centre of both flags. The painting is exhibited in the Handels- og Søfartsmuseet på Kronborg (HSM) in Helsingør (=Elsinore)/Danmark. (see attached file: DK_blue3.JPG - sent as dk_blue3.jpg)

Source: Per EILSTRUP & Nils Eric BOESGAARD: "Fjernt fra Danmark", Copenhagen 1974, p.120
Klaus-Michael Schneider
, 28 March 2006

Quarantine Flag

[Quarantine flag] by Željko Heimer

Green rectangular flag.

This was used in Danish navigation presumably until the international yellow flag was introduced in mid 20th century. This may have a connection with the cognate Danish "green cross" flag (the Infirmary Flags, Danish lazaretflag) used before the introduction of the Red Cross flag of the Geneva convention. (see Infirmary flag).
Željko Heimer, 3 June 2004

Danish Maritime Association

[Danish Maritime Association flag] [Danish Maritime Association flag] images from Klaus-Michael Schneider, 19 March 2019

I spotted this flag inside an antiques shop in Hillerød in North Sealand (Denmark) on 9 June 2016. It is a Danish split flag with a badge in the canton as follows: in a golden segmented annulet is a throughout white Greek cross, superimposed by a golden cypher "M", topped by a crown, and beneath a fowl anchor in bend sinister, all charges are golden fimbriated black.
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 19 March 2019

This appears to be the flag of Danmarks Marineforening, the Danish Navy Association (or Danish Maritime Association).
Brian Mills, 19 June 2019

Maritime Association? The association for those who went to sea, be it in the Navy, the Merchant Fleet and the Fishery Fleet. It's not an Old Comrades organization per se, but its local divisions do celebrate the camaraderie between those who went to sea, whatever their fleet may be or may have been.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 3 July 2019