An Account of the Convoy Drill (Signal) Book

By Hilary P. Mead RN, published February 1946


Relations between merchant marines and their brethren in state navies were not always cordial, which Mead illustrates by means of extracts from a convoy escort signal book of 1804. The signals were based on standard numerical flags and a number of ‘extras’, both rectangular and triangular (pendant). By displaying a given range of flags the convoy commander could identify a specific vessel and issue orders to its master, with signal 45 illustrating the antipathy between the services, as it instructs the nearest escort to “Fire a-head of the Ship whose Signal is shewn here”.

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Filed under: Atlantic | Napoleonic War
Subjects include: Administration | Merchant Marines | Miscellaneous | Navies

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