Ensigns of the Home Nations and Europe

The Union Flag
Pre-1801 Union Flag
Pre-1801 Union Flag at Fort York, Toronto

Raising the flag on Norfolk Island March 06, 2008 for Foundation Day

Command flag, Admiral of the Fleet, RN (before 1801)

Object name: Command flag, known as 'The Glorious First of June'
Date made: before 1794
Materials: wool; linen; hand sewn
Measurements: flag: 3962.4 x 5588 mm
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
The flag is associated with the first fleet action of the French Revolutionary War, fought on the 1 June 1794 and thereafter known as the Glorious 1 June. It was flown as the flag of the British commander, Richard Earl Howe, indicating his role as Admiral of the Fleet. In Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg’s painting of the battle, the flag can be seen at the main of Howe’s flagship ‘Queen Charlotte’ forming the apex of the composition. Although the British fleet were the victors capturing six ships and sinking a seventh, the French fleet protected a vital American grain convoy which successfully landed its cargo at a time of food shortage in France.
The flag was handed down through the family of a midshipman in ‘Queen Charlotte’, William Burgh, who was promoted lieutenant shortly after the action on the 24 July 1794. Letters from Burgh to his family include an account of the battle and his name is marked on the kitbag in which the flag was kept by his descendents. The construction of the flag is entirely consistent with its provenance — other late 18th and early 19th century flags in the collection show the diagonals of the Scottish saltire failing to join up correctly. The loosely woven bunting and hand-sewn seams are also indicative of an early date. It seems likely that the flag would have been made in the Royal Dockyards or by one of their contractors.

Flying over the Williamsburg Capital

High atop the Capitol building in colonial Williamsburg, the Union Jack of the mother country still flies.

The flag is still used in
Australia- outside the former Custom House in Sydney as well as quay-side at Old Sydney Town, NWW.
Bermuda- In Hamilton as a symbol of the colony's age.
Canada- Throughout, especially in commemoration of the Loyalists
USA- At Williamsburg
- Outside the Capitol building in Oklahoma
- Outside the State Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi
- Along interstate highways on the Alabama borders.

Incorrectly-made Union Flag
As can be seen, the cross of St. Patrick in this 3 yard Union Flag produced by flagsglobal.co.uk (being sold for 100 pounds sterling on ebay), particularly on the top half, does not correspond to official specifications: 

Union Flag Carried At Batoche
This flag was presented to Lieutenant-Colonel W.D. Otter by members of the Canadian House of Commons and carried by his troops to the battlefield at Batoche, Saskatchewan, 1885.
Collection of Glenbow Museum
British Government Flags
British Ambassador and Consular Flags

PERSONAL COLLECTION: Car Pennant flag possibly dating inter-war period with sleeve for mounting a flag pole of a car and measuring 12 x 7.5 inches
 Original 1956 dated British Diplomat or Ambassador's Flag 12ft x 6 ft VERY RARE. Dated 1956 and is marked "DIPLOMAT" with the makers mark for Liverpool.  

Cheap printed version used to represent the nation at the embassy in Rome. Photo on right is of the embassy in Tokyo.
Iranian barbarians stealing the Ambassador's flag in Teheran on November 29, 2011, fortunately a mere printed copy with the arms sewn on.

British Consular Flag

Consular officers afloat
This flag is neither a jack nor an ensign, but a distinguishing flag, like that of an admiral. Its use as an ensign is specifically forbidden. Its use as a jack is not forbidden and if the bow is the only place to fly it (e.g. in a small motor launch with no central mast) then that is where it would go, with the appropriate ensign (usually an undefaced blue ensign) at the stern. There are several other distinguishing flags that look like ensigns, e.g. the joint service command flags.
1966 Wembley Stadium World Cup flag 

British Parliament in Session
This flag was presented to vexillology at the 24 International Congress of Vexillology that was held at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia.  Ever since Parliament changed its policy of permanently flying the UK Union flag over Parliament, it has lost its communicative purpose - to signal that British Law makers were in session.  The Parliament Flag would only fly when law makers are in session  The purpose of this flag is to re-establish the signalling purpose of a flag over Parliament.  Its design is modelled after the typical design of a British Ensign. It has a white background and a badge. The badge is a union of the two symbols - the legendary knights of the round table and the coat of arms of Simon de Montfort who is responsible for England's first directly elected Parliament in 1265.  Not only does this flag restore the communicative aspect of the flag over Parliament but it serves as a reminder of history.

Civil Defence
The Civil Defence flag was quarterly blue and yellow with a Union first quarter and a Tudor crown in colour above yellow letters C D in the fourth quarter. Garter wrote that quarterly flags should be square but that, as when flying, part of the flag was concealed, it was desirable to have the length greater than the depth. He proposed 5 : 3 as a good compromise. The flag was approved by King George VI on 11 August 1943, and first used on Battle of Britain Day, 26 September 1943.
The flag was printed in one piece, which included the Union canton, but not the Civil Defence badge. The latter was stencilled on two pieces, and sewn on separately. The Scottish Office thought that there might be a problem in Scotland, since Garter had no jurisdiction there, but Lyon King of Arms raised no objection to its use. One flag was issued to each scheme-making local authority in England, Wales and Scotland. Any additional flags were to be made locally with no reimbursement. David Prothero
 Personal collection: 1956 British UK Civil Defence Flag, Wool & Linen 5' x 3'

General Post Office Blue Ensign
General Post Office Blue Ensign made of wool bunting with a linen hoist. It is hand-sewn with the details of the Queen's Crown painted. The letters 'GPO' are appliquéd in yellow in the fly. A rope is attached to hoist the flag. In 1823 the Admiralty took over the management of overseas mail shipping from the Post Office and from 1837 it also managed the services within the British Isles. Contracts were allocated to new private companies and the old packet services went out of business. In 1837 the General Post Office employed a steam boat to collect mail from sailing vessels 'detained in the entrance to the English Channel, either by contrary winds or calms' and landing them in the first convenient port. 
Post Office ensign

A hand-sewn Post Office ensign in wool bunting. The fly is defaced with 'POST OFFICE' in yellow letters. A rope is attached to hoist the ensign. In 1823 the Admiralty took over the management of overseas mail shipping from the Post Office and from 1837 it also managed the services within the British Isles. Contracts were allocated to new private companies and the old packet services went out of business. In 1837 the General Post Office employed a steam boat to collect mail from sailing vessels 'detained in the entrance to the English Channel, either by contrary winds or calms' and landing them in the first convenient port. The steam vessel was to be distinguished by a 'Post Office Blue ensign'. The construction of this flag is consistent with this approximate date, and the size indicates it would have been flown from a relatively small vessel.

Royal Mail Blue Ensign
Made of wool bunting, it is machine-sewn with printed detail. The fly is defaced with a red King's Crown and white inscription 'ROYAL MAIL'. The design of the crown indicates that it dates from after the accession of Edward VII in 1901. A rope and toggle are attached to hoist the flag.

General Post Office Blue Ensign
1430 x 2480 mm

The Blue Ensign used by mail packets from about 1833. The ensign is made of hand-sewn wool bunting. A painted badge depicting a postboy is sewn in the fly. The postboy badge was allocated to the General Post Office in 1694. It was placed in a Red Ensign or flown by itself as a masthead flag until about 1833 when the Post Office Red Ensign was replaced by this blue version. This ensign went out of use after mail shipping contracts were allocated to new shipping companies and the original packet services went out of business.
The later 1884 pattern showing Father Time, his hour glass shattered by a lightning bolt.This latter flag looks all but identical to the "Global Marine Systems Cable Ships Ensign" as found on page 81 of Graham Bartram's British Flags & Emblems
The design printed and machine-sewn in synthetic/wool bunting. A square flag possibly used as a jack. Rope and toggle attached.

 The printed badge is applied to a machine-sewn ensign made in synthetic/wool bunting. It has a rope and toggle attached. The figure of Time holds a scythe and an hourglass which is being shattered by a thunder bolt suggesting that the Post Office provided a speedy service. The ensign was used by government owned Royal Mail vessels from 1884. The ensign's use seems to have been discontinued some time after World War II.

Department of Trade and Industry ensign
My own personal flag

Apparently this Department was disbanded with the announcement of the creation of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills on 28 June 2007 as Tyskaorden2 at Flags Forum informed me. Possibly the flag has simply been transferred to this new department as it had done when the previous department was established in 1970.

4 feet by 11 feet
On page 68 of Das Grosse Flaggenbuch (1992 re-print) appears an illustration of a square blue jack which is defaced with a sailing vessel adjacent to the Ensign of the Board of Trade. The dimensions for the badge are given as exactly one quarter of the Jack's width.

There appears to be some confusion as to whether Public Office Jacks were defaced with the badge of the Department, or left plain. David Prothero's research into the matter yielded the following:
In 1939 both
Flaggenbuch and 'Flags of the World' by V. Wheeler-Holohan used the Board of Trade jack as an example of Public Service jacks. 'Flaggenbuch' showed it with the Board of Trade badge in the fly, while Wheeler-Holohan wrote that it was plain. "The Board of Trade also flies as its distinguishing badge in the fly of the Blue Ensign a circular device showing a sailing vessel at sea, flying the jack for vessels in the employ of public offices at the Jack-staff, and the Blue Ensign at the stern. This Jack for vessels in the employ of Public Offices is a square Blue Ensign with the Union taking up the first quarter exactly." An illustration of the flag shows a plain square blue jack.

The relevant entry in King's Regulations and Admiralty Instructions of the time was:
"Ensigns of Public Offices.- Ships and vessels employed in the service of any public office shall carry a blue ensign, and a small blue flag with a Union described in a canton at the upper corner thereof next to the staff, as a jack, but in the centre of the fly of such ensign and jack, that is, in the centre of that part between the Union and the end of the flag, shall be inserted the badge of the office to which they belong."

Clearly 'Flags of the World' was wrong, but the mistake was repeated in successive editions by
H. Gresham Carr and E.M.C. Barraclough until the 1971 edition, when reference to the Board of Trade was removed following its reorganisation as the Department of Trade and Industry.

In practice very few departments use a jack. "... public service departments are authorised to use a square version of their Blue Ensign as a Jack. Currently only the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service, Marine Society and Northern Lighthouse Board vessels are believed to do this.  HM Army Vessels wore the Union Flag as their jack, as did HM Air Force Vessels when they existed. The British Antarctic Survey and the Sea Cadet Corps use the merchant jack (also known as the pilot jack)." 
 'Colours of the Fleet' by Malcolm Farrow.

The Department of Trade and Industry has now become the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, and is thought not to have a flag.
Martin Grieve, 5 April 2008

HM Customs & Excise ensign 1873-1949

Current HM Customs & Excise ensign

The present Customs' Blue Ensign was the result of a request, made to the Admiralty in 1948, for a new badge that was more distinctive than the Royal Crown then in use. A portcullis surmounted by a crown which had been the seal of the office since at least Tudor times (16th century) was suggested. This had been used on the pennant of the Commissioner of Customs since 1905, and also been adopted as a badge by the Waterguard Preventive Service. Red was not thought to be a good colour on a blue background and the badge in gold was approved by the Admiralty on 16th August 1948. The new flags were announced in Customs Weekly Order 32/1949. One ensign was issued to each launch and pontoon, one burgee to each station, but not to be flown until 6th August 1949. The old ensign was to continue in use on buildings as the main stock would not be available until April 1950.
HM Coastguard ensign
34" x 72"

60 x 40 inches. Cotton with printed CG badge stitched to centre and Union Flag stitched in corner from a Northern Irish Coastguard Station which closed early last decade as part of restructuring of local teams.  Heavy bass eye and rope attachment.

Department for Transport ensign

1920-1951 (Martin Grieve) and current, from page 59 of Graham Bartram's British Flags & Emblems

Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ensign
 UK Border Agency

Although these are private companies, they don't seem to have anywhere else to go:

Eastern Telegraph Co. Ltd

Eastern Telegraph Co. Ltd., located in London. It is a 9-stripes flag with horizontal alternating red and white stripes starting with a red one. The canton is a Union Jack. In the lower fly are blue capitals ETC, the T having double height.
Cable & Wireless was the name given in 1934 to a company formed in 1929 by amalgamating Eastern Telegraph Company, Eastern Telegraph Extensions Company, Eastern Telegraph Associated Companies and Pacific Cable Board. Eastern Telegraph Company's house flag was the old East India Co. ensign with blue letters ETC in the fly. The Extensions Company house flag was similar with an additional blue letter E above the letters ETC. Their ships operated under the Red Ensign, but ships of the Pacific Cable Board, a public body formed in 1901 by the governments of Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, were granted a Blue Ensign defaced with crossed cable-laying implements surmounted by a royal crown. This ensign was probably withdrawn in 1929. David Prothero
Eastern Telegraph Extensions Company

Pacific Cable BoardThe Pacific Cable Board was a public body formed in 1901 by the governments of Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, to establish a west-about cable link with Australia, that would not cross any foreign territory. It was granted a Blue Ensign defaced by cable-laying implements in saltire ensigned by a royal crown. The ensign became obsolete in 1929 when the Board was wound-up and its assets combined with those of the Eastern Telegraph Company, the Eastern Telegraph Extensions Company, and Eastern Telegraph Associated Companies to form Imperial and International Communications Ltd. In 1934 the name was changed to Cable & Wireless Ltd. David Prothero
Cornish Ensign
This flag is actually the house flag of a Cornish shipping company, but is often used as an unofficial "Cornish" ensign.Graham Bartram, 15 August 2000

Devon Regatta Ensign
Designed by Kevin Pyne and dedicated to his late wife Lyzie, this flag was first flown at the Dartmouth Regatta August 2003. Intended for regattas, high days & holidays, weddings and burials at sea, St.Petroc's Day (4th June) & Mid Summer's Day.

Fire Brigade flag and standard
Fire Service Flag from page 60 of Graham Bartram's British Flags & Emblems.
 6ft4 by 4ft 4

Wiltshire Fire Brigade flag and standard produced and sold by Flying Colours.

Thames Division Metropolitan Police Flag
Photo taken summer of 2008 on the Thames

33" x 19"

Christ’s Hospital School house flag
Christ’s Hospital School at Horsham is best known for the Tudor uniform: long blue coat, knee-breeches, yellow socks, and bands at the neck for boys. The nickname "Blue-coat School" comes from the blue coats worn by the students – however, the nickname used within the school community itself is "Housey" and the long coat is called a "housey coat".
Each section of has its own blue ensign defaced in white with the name of the House and section; a total of 16 ensigns have been created since the 1880s although records are scanty. They are paraded each day at meal times.

Boys' Brigade Ensign

99 by 135 centimetres

Scottish Union flag

1606 Scottish variant of the Union flag, produced and sold by Flying Colours.
Scottish Union flag flying at Lennoxlove House, Haddington, East Lothian

Scottish Fisheries Board/Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency

18" by 3 feet
The SFPA is responsible for both deterring illegal fishing in Scottish waters, as well as monitoring the compliance of the fisheries industry in Scotland with the relevant Scottish and European Union laws on fisheries. The Agency has 18 Fishery Offices, a fleet of 4 Fishery Protection Vessels, and 2 aircraft for the purposes of monitoring and enforcement in the waters around Scotland. The letters "SF" appearing in the Agency's ensign relate to the words "Sea Fisheries" as the agency is part of the UK Sea Fisheries Inspectorate (SFI). 

Scottish Executive Department for Rural Affairs
From page 59 of Graham Bartram's British Flags & Emblems

Flag of the Western Isles (Outer Hebrides)
This flag is illustrated in Alfred Znamierowski, The World Encyclopedia of Flags [ed: page 153 of my copy of The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Flags and Heraldry]. It is my understanding that the 'national flag' shown there is based on a misunderstanding of a badge grant to the Western Isles council. The badge with the lymphad was indeed granted by the Scottish heraldic authority. However, an ensign with a badge is a different matter and requires separate authorization.

The following item appeared in Flagscan No. 30, 1993, p. 20: "Roman Klimes in no. 12 of Flaggen, Wappen und Siegel, 1992, ascribes a flag to the Western Isles - the Hebrides. It is a British blue ensign with the badge ... of a sailing ship, black on white, in the fly. It was introduced Sept. 9, 1976. Klimes gives as his source The Lyon Register, No. 51."

Information given by R.M. Urquhart in his book Scottish Civic Heraldry, London: Heraldry Today, 1979, p. 78, makes it clear that 9 September 1979 is the date of the grant of arms and a badge to the Western Isles council. Urquhart quotes as source the same volume of Lyon's Register as mentioned in Flagscan. He remarks that the grant of a badge is unusual in that 'This is the first example of the granting of a badge to a Scottish Local Authority'. He does not mention the badge being placed on an ensign. Jan Oskar Engene


Ireland Before and After Partition

Unofficial Green ensign probably used by merchant ships in Ireland before 1922.


I did some checking on this 'green ensign' last night and I found the following. The green ensign with the gold harp for Ireland is found in:
  • 1830's, Map of the Old World with border of flags (US published).
  • 1851 and 1858, A chart of National Flags by Henry Bill, New York.
  • 1856, Ballou's Drawing Room Companion print of world flags (US).
  • 1858, French admiralty flag book Pavillons, by le Gras.
  • 1861 and 1863, Johnson's New Chart of National Emblems, New York.
  • 1863, Colton's National and Commercial Flags of All Nations
  • 1880's, Standards and Flags of All Nations, Brown & Son, UK (predecessor to the Brown, Son & Fergusson charts of the 20th century).
  • 1917, National Geographic (with a St. George's Cross in the canton), in a section reproducing flags from a 1705 chart. It is described as being 'entirely appropriate' for the Emerald Isle.
It is not found in the following:
  • 1889, British admiralty Drawings of Flags of All Nations.
  • 1899, US navy Flags of Maritime Nations.
  • 1916, edition of the Brown, Son & Fergusson chart. Nick Artimovich

From the nicka21045 collection

According to the seller of this remarkable flag,
This is a rare original World War I or WWII era Irish flag (I was told it is a pre-1926 Naval Flag but I can find no information on it on the Net) in excellent original condition. The green wool body measures approximately 53" x 108". The harp is sewn to the body of the flag, one to each side. The Union Jack and a quarter is also separately printed and sewn to the flag. The bunting is heavy cotton and is unmarked. There are couple of repairs which are shown in the close-up photograph and there are some scattered moth bites here and there, though nothing greatly detractive.
   Photo I took from the Scott Expedition Exhibition at the museum in Tralee in 2005

Heavy cotton 124 by 264cm., 49 by 104in.

Lord Lieutenant of Ireland

The flag was introduced when the Admiralty objected to the practice of flying the Union Jack at the main masthead of any ship in which the Lord-Lieutenant was embarked. "In former times the the Lt-General and General Governor were in the practice of wearing the Union Jack. In latter times the Union Jack has been appropriated to designate Military Command of the Admiral of Our Fleet and other Commanders-in-Chief. It is reasonable and necessary to make a difference between such a military flag and the honorary flag of the Lt-General and General Governor of that part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland called Ireland." At sea the flag was third in precedence after the Royal Standard and the Flag of the Viceroy of India, and was "to be always hoisted at the main, the flag of an Admiral or the broad pendant of a Commodore, if necessary, being shifted to another mast or ship as the case may require."
The flag was also flown at the Viceregal Lodge when the Lord-Lieutenant was in residence, and at Dublin Castle when he was in residence or visiting, and on certain holidays. There may also have been a version of the flag, as used on land, that included a crown. In December 1902, Sir Arthur Vicars, Ulster King of Arms, wrote that an unauthorized flag of the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland was sometimes used consisting of the Union Flag with a crowned harp in the centre, and in October 1924 T.P. Le Fanu at the Dublin Office of Public Works wrote that the flag that had been flown at the Viceregal Lodge when the Lord-Lieutenant was in residence was the Lord-Lieutenant's flag, a Union Jack with badge of harp and crown. David Prothero

Congested Districts Board

The Congested Districts Board for Ireland was formed in 1891 to alleviate poverty and "congested" living conditions in the west of Ireland. William Lawson Micks worked with the Congested Districts Board (CDB) for the full term of its existence, first as Secretary and from 1909 as a member. The board was dissolved in 1923 and its staff was absorbed into the Irish Land Commission when its functions were assumed by the Department of Fisheries and Rural Industries. The purpose of the CDB was to alleviate poverty by paying for public works, such as building piers for small ports on the west coast, to assist fishing, or sponsoring local factories to give employment and stop emigration from Ireland.

Northern Ireland International Police Association flag

Department of Agriculture, Dublin

Commissioners of Irish Lights

Connaught Rangers Colours
Royal Irish Regiment
To commemorate the homecoming of the Royal Irish Regiment from service in Afghanistan. Faugh-A-Ballagh is an 18th-century anglicization of the Irish-language words Fág an bealach, a battle cry meaning "clear the way." Its first recorded use as a regimental motto was by the Royal Irish Fusiliers in 1798 and remains the motto of the Royal Irish Regiment today.

Royal Cork Yacht Club

Royal Irish Yacht Club

image by Martin Grieve
The Royal Irish Yacht Club is located in Dún Laoghaire Harbour, County Dublin Ireland. The club was founded in 1831, with the Marquis of Anglesey, who commanded the cavalry at the Battle of Waterloo being its first Commodore.

Royal St George Yacht Club 
Ensign, Royal St George Yacht Club, Kingstown, Ireland. Pattern in use 1901-1952. A red ensign defaced with a king's crown. Rope attached. Date made  after 1901 Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London Materials: linen; machine sewn; printed; wool Measurements of flag: 1727.2 x 2768.6 mm
Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland
Government Ensign of Northern Ireland 1929-1973
So-called 'Ulster' flag
Original caption: Ulster flag in London for Empire Day. An Irish newspaper office in fleet street. London, flew the new Ulster flag for the first time recently. The Ulster flag is the Union Jack with red hand in the centre.
Ulster Defence Association

Extreme right: Taking its place above computer in classroom.http://webzoom.freewebs.com/munisc/Sponsored%20Walk.jpg

Unidentified Ulster Flag

This is an unusual Ulster flag from the 1950s and 60s. The 6 stars represent the six counties. Features the Crown and Ulster Covenant.

Putative Northern Ireland blue ensign
From my classroom
 Large Vintage Blue British Empire Ulster/Northern Ireland Flag measuring 8ft 8" by 4ft 2"
 Ulster Special Constabulary B Specials Souvenir Flag
Ulster Defence Regiment Colours Souvenir Flag

Governor of Northern Ireland
images by Martin Grieve that on the right incorrectly shown without orange background
 A mistake unsurprisingly made on this cheap Chinese-made version

Right Incorrectly labelled "the flag of Northern Ireland."

Royal Ulster Constabulary
by Graham Bartram, badge added
On 6 November 1947 the Royal Ulster Constabulary asked the Admiralty for a warrant to fly the Blue Ensign defaced with the RUC badge on the 41 foot ex-RAF sea-plane tender used for anti-smuggling patrols on Upper and Lower Lough Erne.
Naval Law Department wrote that arguments against granting it were:
1. The Blue Ensign was a maritime flag and this was for use on an inland waterway.
2. No other Constabulary had a defaced Blue Ensign.
Latterly I understand, the ensign has been used only on the vessel "Grey Lady" during VIP visits. David Prothero

Purported Northern Ireland Blue Ensign with harp
It is certain that the blue ensign charged with a harp was never used as the flag of Northern Ireland. Indeed, there was no flag for Northern Ireland prior to 1953 when a banner of the government's arms was introduced. This in turn ceased to be official when the Northern Ireland government was abolished in 1972 but it continues to be found in flag books - demonstrating once again the principle that "vexillology abhors a vacuum" ... if a territory doesn't have a flag, vexillologists provide it with one.
I have recently found what may be the first direct evidence for the use of a "harp ensign" in Ireland. I came across it in a book by James Carty entitled 'Ireland from the Great Famine to the Treaty of 1921' (Dublin, 1951). The volume is long out of print and now quite scarce. It includes a drawing of a British army recruitment post in Dublin's College Green in 1915.
Four flags are visible around the statue of Henry Grattan, an 18th-c. statesman largely responsible for re-establishing the independence of the Irish parlaiment in 1782. The flags are a Union Jack, two "harp ensigns", and a fourth flag that cannot be clearly distinguished (a red ensign perhaps?). Unfortunately, the cantons of both of the "harp ensigns" are indistinct and the possibility that they may be Dublin municipal flags cannot be excluded, although I would consider this to be somewhat unlikely in view of the context.
The book states that the original drawing appeared in 'The Lady of the House', a women's magazine published in Dublin until 1920. I have gone through all the issues for 1915 and 1916 in the National Library of Ireland and have failed to find the illustration. Perhaps it appeared in 1917 or later, or in 1914 (although the caption in the book says the drawing dates from 1915), or perhaps it was taken from a different publication. In any event, unless a clearer version of the drawing can be found it won't be possible to say for certain that this is indeed a long-sought example of the "harp ensign" being used in Ireland. Vincent Morley
Vanguard Movement
The Ulster Vanguard movement was essentially a political pressure group within unionism. It was formed on 9 February 1972 and was led by William Craig (former Minister of Home Affairs at Stormont); deputy leaders were the Rev. Martin Smyth and Captain Austin Ardill. Other members included David Trimble and Reg Empey. Ulster Vanguard advocated a semi-independent Northern Ireland. It was also the intention that Vanguard would provide an umbrella organisation for Loyalists. Ulster Vanguard had close links with, and strong support from Loyalist paramilitary groups. Vanguard had its own paramilitary grouping called the Vanguard Service Corps (USC) whose main function seemed to be to provide escorts for Vanguard speakers attending rallies. James Dignan, 3 December 2003
Royal Ulster Rifles
Unveiled by Field-Marshall Sir Henry Wilson on Saturday 19 November, 1921 in honour of the 36th Ulster Division the Ulster Memorial Tower at the site of the Schwaben redoubt in Thiepval, France against which the Ulster Division advanced on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The tower is a replica of Helen's Tower located at Clandeboye, County Down where I myself cycled past and where men of the then newly formed Ulster Division drilled and trained at the start of the Great War.

Ian Sumner of Beverley, East Yorkshire identified the light-blue ensign inside the Memorial Hall in the Tower for me:
the flag of the Royal Irish Rifles-rather, given the style of the crown, it's the flag of the Royal Ulster Rifles (the name change was made in 1921, after Irish independence). The badge is a crowned angel harp above a scroll with the motto 'Quis seperabit', above a strung bugle. What you can see on the photo is the tip of the angel's wing meeting the pillar of the harp. I've a photo in a book that shows the 1st Battalion band in 1929 with a similar flag (apart from the change in crown). I would have expected the flag to have been green, given that it was a rifles regiment - I wonder if this example has faded at all?
Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club
The flag is the defaced Blue Ensign of the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club, which carries (as do all British Ensigns) the Union Flag in its canton (or upper left corner), with a yellow shamrock below a St Edward's Crown in the fly half (or on the side opposite to the Union). The Club Burgee is, of course, triangular with a blue field bearing the same shamrock and crown. Unfortunately however, I do not have a date when this particular Ensign was authorised. Christopher Southworth
Royal Ulster Yacht Club
Royal Ulster Yacht Club is located in Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland on the south shore of Belfast Lough.

The Club was established in 1866 as the Ulster Yacht Club, on the impetus of Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava. In 1869 it received a Royal warrant.[2] The land for the clubhouse was purchased in 1897 and built by architect Vincent Craig (brother of James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon).

The "boating grocer", Sir Thomas Lipton, being blackballed from the Royal Yacht Squadron, launched his America's Cup bid from the RUYC in 1898. Lipton continued to sail from the Royal Ulster until 1929; his legacy being the Lipton Room.

Today the Club's patron is Her Majesty The Queen (a position Her Majesty has held since 1953) and the Commodore is Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

RUYC was visited by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in 1961, with Prince Philip competing in the Regatta. Prince Philip returned to the Club in 2006.
Isle of Man
This is the official civil ensign for the Isle of Man. The three conjoined legs are the "triskelion", the symbol of Man. The land flag for the Isle of Man is red with the triskelion in the centre (no union flag).
Graham Bartram

9 ft x 4 ft 
A mere 1ft 5in x 3ft in total
Governor's Flag
The Channel Islands
GuernseyThe following is from The Flag Bulletin, XXXV:5/171 (1996.09-10), p.197:
Prior to the creation in 1985 of the current Guernsey flag, the Cross of St. George had been flown on the island for an indeterminate time as its local flag. However, during the 19th century a different flag seems to have been in use as well - an ensign with the Union Jack as a canton and a (?red) cross on a chequered field. The cover illustration of this flag is based on a contemporary engraving ('Unveiling the Albert Statue at Guernsey 8 October 1836' from Barbet's Almanack 1864). Design details are not entirely certain: one writer refers to '96 black and white cheques', another to 'Mr. Tupper's blue and white chequered flag'.
António Martins

Civil Ensign
Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey

 12 x 6 inches with device sewn onto flag

Jersey Government ensign

In 1905, the Harbour Master of St Helier applied to the Admiralty for a badge for a Blue Ensign that would be "plainly distinctive and easily distinguishable from the special Blue Ensign of the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club, and from the ensign used by Guernsey authorities, a three leopard badge surmounted by a sprig of laurel." The ensign was needed to identify the steam-tug "Duke of Normandy" to the French who had granted it the privilege of official recognition and immunity as a vessel in public service. This placed the "Duke of Normandy" on the same footing as tenders of Trinity House who were not charged harbour dues. States of Jersey were the registered owners and the ship would fly the Blue Ensign only when on government service. The badge on the Blue Ensign of the R.C.I.Y.C. was three yellow lions on a red shield ensigned with a crown. The proposed badge was a red saltire on a white rectangle surmounted by a yellow bordered red shield charged with three yellow leopards ensigned with a crown.
The request was not well received. The Home Office were aggrieved because the application had been made direct to the Admiralty, and not through them, and the Admiralty considered that the application should be refused because Jersey was not a colony, the States were not a public office, and therefore the Order in Council authorising Blue Ensigns did not apply. It was finally decided that it could be granted as a special case under Sec.73(i) of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894; "any other ship or boat for the time being allowed to wear any other national colour (other than the Red Ensign) in pursuance of a warrant from His Majesty or from the Admiralty." Thus the warrant that was sent in March 1907 stating that the badge of Jersey in the fly should be the arms, was for one particular ship, and was not extended for general use by any vessel operated by the States of Jersey until 1997. David Prothero
Jersey red ensign

Flag of the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey

Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club
From page 86 of Graham Bartram's British Flags & Emblems
Lord Lieutenant of a County
Sold by Flying Colours
9 x 4/12 foot; 54 x 108 inches

The title Lord-Lieutenant is given to the British monarch's personal representatives around the United Kingdom. Usually some retired local notable, a senior army officer, peer or business person is given the honorary post. Lord-Lieutenants are the monarch's representatives in their lieutenancy. It is their foremost duty to uphold the dignity of the Crown, and in so doing they seeks to promote a spirit of co-operation and good atmosphere by the time they give to voluntary and benevolent organisations and by the interest they take in the business and social life of their counties. Valentin Poposki

 Royal ensign of the Duke of Windsor , the former King Edward VIII

 Royal ensign of Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten

British Possessions in Europe

In 1922, Cypriots were British subjects for most purposes, but not for the purpose of Sec. 1 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894. Consequently a Cypriot ship flying the plain Red Ensign was subject to forfeiture under Sec. 69. The Colonial Office proposed amendment of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act 1914, so that British subjects, who became such by annexation, should be British subjects for all purposes. It was pointed out that it could not be done until the next Imperial Conference. Instead, the High Commissioner, with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council, passed Cyprus Registration of Ships Law, 1922. This provided for the registration of ships in Cyprus; and authorised ships when registered, to fly a Red Ensign defaced by a Cyprus badge. Unregistered boats, that were the equipment of registered ships, could also fly the defaced Red Ensign. Such ships were not British ships, but the ensign showed that they were British protected.
Consideration had been given to replacing the two lion badge with the Lion Arms of the French dynasty of Lusignan. Soon after he acquired the island Richard sold it to the Knights Templar, who transferred it, with his consent, to Guy de Lusignan, the dispossessed King of Jerusalem. He and his successors ruled in Cyprus until 1489. The Lusignan arms were in use on the Public Seal and coinage, but Winston Churchill, who was Colonial Secretary at the time, wrote that although the Lusignan Lion might be more appropriate, the Lion Shield of Richard the First had been chosen by the late King Edward VII, and it would not be proper to alter the design selected by him. In 1925, Cyprus became a Crown Colony. As far as I know the Red Ensign warrant was not cancelled and Cyprus was thus the only Colony, as opposed to Dominion or Protectorate, that had its own Red Ensign. David Prothero

Governor of Cyprus
(The Cyprus flag of the British Colonial period handed to Thassos Sophocleos, former Eoka executioner, (left) by ex- Royal Signals’ soldier and now traitor John Miller)
On 20 June 2006, the media in Greek Cyprus reported former Royal Signals' soldier John Miller, 67, had given the Eoka Museum in Nicosia, the flag that was lowered at 19.18 for the final time from the flagpole outside the Governor's Mansion on 15 August 1960, the evening before Britain gave up being the Island's colonial ruler.
Miller claimed: 'At the flag changeover ceremony, I asked Governor Sir Hugh Foot for permission to keep it and he agreed. It remained in my wardrobe in Lowestoft in Suffolk until I returned to Cyprus in 1999. I love Cyprus and have made Finikaria village in Limassol my home. Even though the flag is valuable, I was never been tempted to sell it and always wanted to bring it back. I believe the flag belongs here as part of the Island's history. I feel very proud and happy today in returning it.'
In 2006, more than 45 years after the end of the Eoka conflicted, Miller's action still angered former British service personnel.
Some servicemen believe Miller could not have been present at the formal standard-lowering ceremony to receive the flag from Sir Hugh Foot. They insist, too, the flag would have been passed to British officers for safekeeping and returned to the United Kingdom.
The Gibraltar blue ensign, used by the Government of Gibraltar vessels, used to be the official flag of the colony —Gibraltar is the only remaining Crown Colony, all the others are Overseas Territories— until the Gibraltar government decided to use the city flag instead. Graham Bartram, 12 December 1998  For some reason the old version is being sold at www.hampshireflag.co.uk/table-flags.html

Current Government ensign

Red ensign

Governor's Flag
Royal Gibraltar Yacht Club Ensign
From page 87 of Graham Bartram's British Flags & Emblems

King's German Legion

The King's German Legion (KGL) was a British Army unit of expatriate German personnel, 1803–16. The Legion achieved the distinction of being the only German force to fight without interruption against the French during the Napoleonic Wars.  The Legion was formed within months of the dissolution of the Electorate of Hanover in 1803, and constituted as a mixed corps by the end of 1803. Although The Legion never fought autonomously and remained a part of the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars (1804–15), it played a vital role in several campaigns, most notably the Walcheren Campaign, the Peninsular War, and the Hundred Days (1815).  The Legion was disbanded in 1816. Several of the units were incorporated into the army of the Kingdom of Hanover, and became later a part of the Imperial German Army after unification in 1871.

Flag of Hannover (left) from W. H. De Puy's The People's Cyclopedia (New York: Phillips & Hunt: 1881)
Description of flag: It is a red ensign. In the centre of its canton is a white rectangle with the white tripping horse of the Saxons in a red field. But on this flag the horse is tripping upon a white terrace. According to www.koenigreich-hannover.de this ensign was used between 1801-1867. Before 1801 it was used without the St.Patrick's cross. The red within the canton of this flag is clearly darker and the canton takes nearly one quarter of total flag. Source: I spotted this flag in Helmsmuseum in Hamburg-Harburg on 29 August 2008.

Post flag of Hanover to 1866
Post flag of Hanover to 1866, no adoption date given. I am guessing yellow bands top and bottom with yellow garland surrounding the postal horn which is ensigned with what appears to be a Hanoverian crown, but these colours could very well be all wrong! Martin Grieve

Yacht flag of King George V of HanoverDavid Prothero forwarded me a scan of an article which deals with the flags of The Electorate/Kingdom of Hanover. The document is in German, and unfortunately neither of us can translate this to English. I have produced 3 gifs from black and white illustrations, and can give some information on these. The first image would appear to be the personal yacht flag of King George V of Hanover. A 4:5 union canton with horse of Hanover on a 4:5 flag.             Martin Grieve

Pilot Flag 19th Century
image by Jaume Ollé

Heligoland 1814-1890
During the British period (1814-1890) the canton with the union flag was frequently (usually?) added to the Heligoland tricolour. It was removed in 1890. Roy Stilling

Purported State Flag and Ensign 1870-1890
There is no record of a Blue Ensign defaced with the shield of Heligoland ever having been used. It can usually be assumed that a badge that appeared on a Governor's Union Flag was also used on the Blue Ensign, but the Colonial Office Flag Book refers only to the Governor's flag. It does not prove that there was not one, but if there was, I think that there would not have been a white disc, and probably no crown. David Prothero

Source for this flag is Longueville's Flags and badges of the British Commonwealth. Surely David Prothero is right and no public record exists, but probably it existed and public records were lost. I believe that arms were pictured in a post stamp and after c. 1860 the British colonies could use the arms or badge in the ensign. I don't know any reason why Helgoland could be an exception and was excluded from the general normative.
Jaume Ollé

Post Office flag
Here is a photo of the former post office flag of the German island of Helgoland while under British rule as Heligoland. Source: http://www.heligoland.de/
Miles Li

Governor's FlagThere was no white disc or garland on the Governor's Union Flag; the shield and crown badge was applied direct as on the flag of the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. David Prothero

The first badge was a white Maltese cross on white/red panel framed with ginger-bread. I would be interested to know the source of the date when this badge was replaced (1898). I assumed a date of about 1905 because there is a letter, noting that the Maltese badge needs to be changed, amongst the documents used in the preparation of the 1907 edition of the Admiralty Flag Book i.e. the badge was not amended in the 1889 edition. That could have been an over-sight. David Prothero

Governor's Flag 1875-c.1898
Governor's Flag
Image taken from Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia 1 Teil - Fest der Völker from the Berlin 1936 Olympics. In centre can be seen a New Zealand red ensign.

State Ensign 1923-1943 and 1943-1964
Governor's Flag
Second World War period car flag flown by Lieutenant-General Sir William Dobbie, Governor of Malta, 1940-1942. The flag shows damage caused by bomb splinters.
United States of the Ionian Sea

In use from 1817-1864