48 Star US Ensign Flag

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by rhettlori, Aug 27, 2009.

  1. rhettlori

    rhettlori New Member

    Hello, I have a flag that is marked
    "US Ensign NO 9 MI 52"
    A note with this flag sates from the 40's war this flag was flown on an oil tanker with Merchant Marines crew. It hit a rock off the coast in San Juan Capistrano, CA and was severely damaged. The Flag was given to a grandfather as a souvenir. Unfortunately, the ship is not named. Can anyone assist me in identifying the ship? Or providing info re the ships markings?
    Thank you for you help.
  2. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member

    MI refers to Mare Island Naval Base where the flag was made. It is (was) located on the north side of San Francisco Bay, now deactivated. Thousands of ensigns were sewn there and used during WWII. The flags flown at the top of Iwo Jima were Mare Island ensigns.
    My guess is that the "52" refers to at date of manufacture of 1952, but that is speculation.
  3. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    Hello, RhettLori ! :D

    Welcome to the USA-Flag-Site Forums !

    Just a couple of quick points for your consideration :

    Point #1 : I believe that the "NO 9" that is part of your Flag's marking ("US Ensign NO 9 MI 52") refers to its size as designated by the U.S. Navy. Size #9 measures 3.52'x6.69'. You didn't mention what the dimensions are of your Flag. If the measurements are approximately the same (or perhaps slightly smaller) as given for a size #9 Flag, then that's probably what it is. If not, then I am clueless!

    The U.S. Navy categorizes National Ensign sizes as follows :

    Flag Size Number = Hoist x Fly Length (in feet) :

    Size 1 = 20.00' x 38.00'
    Size 2 = 19.00' x 36.10'
    Size 3 = 14.35' x 27.27'
    Size 4 = 12.19' x 23.16'
    Size 5 = 10.00' x 19.00'
    Size 6 = 8.94' x 16.99'
    Size 7 = 5.14' x 9.77'
    Size 8 = 5.00' x 9.50'
    Size 9 = 3.52' x 6.69'
    Size 10 = 2.90' x 5.51'
    Size 11 = 2.37' x 4.50'
    Size 12 = 1.31' x 2.49'

    Point #2 : If Nick (NAVA1974) is correct about the date of the Flag's manufacture (1952), then that would give you a little bit better idea as to the date of the un-named ship's "accident".

    Point #3 : I did a quick check of underwater shipwrecks along the southern California coast at the California Wreck Divers website (on their wreck locations page) : http://www.cawreckdivers.org/WrcksLoc.htm. I did NOT find anything that corresponds to the type of ship, its approximate location, or the time of the accident. Which means that if it did happen (as the story goes), the ship probaly did NOT sink as a result of the accident.

    I do NOT know if it is possible or not, but you might try checking with the U.S. Coast Guard, or any other federal government agencies that deal with maritime accidents. Perhaps a maritime insurance agency such as Lloyds of London would have some record of the grounding.

    Even if the oil tanker did NOT sink and only "ran aground", it would still be a pretty big story. Maybe local area newspapers or historical societies/museums might have some kind of stories or notices about the accident? Due to the nature (and vagueness) of the story you might have to expand the possible "boundaries" of the accident out from San Juan Capistrano to include most of the So. California coastline from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border.

    I don't know if any of that was of any help to you or not. I hope you'll be able to "solve" the mystery of you Grandfather's Flag and its origins !!!

    Thank You for bringing your Flag-related story to our Forums !

    Robin Hickman
  4. rhettlori

    rhettlori New Member

    Great information and a wonderful start for my research. I'll post more of a description of the flag later today.
  5. rhettlori

    rhettlori New Member

    This flag does appear to be a #9 size as Robin describes. The measurements match.

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