The Union Flag

By W.G. Perrin, published February 1911

Abstract

Why is the Union Flag commonly called the Union Jack? The answer is to be found in the Stuart proclamations that governed the introduction and use of the Union Flag, which provided that the King’s ships were to fly the Union Flag on their bowsprit, i.e. as a jack. In 1833 an Admiralty Circular erroneously used the term Union Jack to refer to a Union Flag flown from elsewhere than the bowsprit and after that the error fell into common usage. This leaves a number of other questions unanswered, including why a flag on the bowsprit is called a jack.

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Filed under: Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Navies

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