48 Star WWI US Naval Ensigns

Discussion in 'Flag Identification and Collecting' started by emartinez, Oct 12, 2008.

  1. emartinez

    emartinez New Member


    I am new to this forum, finding it in my search for more information on my new flags: two 12' on hoist by 19' on fly 48-star flags that I acquired roundabout from an estate in Maine. Supposedly, both of these flags were flown as Naval Ensigns aboard US Navy warships out of Bath Iron works during World War One. Each flag is made of wool bunting, with the flags sewn on each side of the canton; the header is narrow and incorporates a rope that ends with loops at each end. I have attached a few pics of one of the flags showing some detail, and the header loop.

    I have just started researching these flags, trying to follow up with the estate folks on what history is actually known, reading applicable sites and literature, and reviewing US Navy historical photos to get some idea of what to be looking for. So, I thought I would throw this post in to see if anyone could point me in some direction to have some chance of getting more information on early 20th century US Navy ensigns.

    Any help is appreciated! Thanks.


    Attached Files:

  2. PRGringo

    PRGringo Member

    First of all, Welcome to the Forum!

    From what litle I know about flags, I can tell you this: there were 12 different sizes used by the US Navy. Most of the larger sizes were for use on holidays.

    Here is a link to some specific information about the standard Navy flag sizes:

    Flag Sizes

    Hope this helps.
  3. emartinez

    emartinez New Member

    Thanks for the site reference. I was wondering about the 12' x 19' dimensions of my flags and how those dimensions related to an official Naval size. The sizes set out on the Navy site you reference indicate both a 12.10 x 23.16 (Size 4) and a 10 x 19 (Size 5), which both look close. However, I read somewhere that the frayed ends on Naval Ensigns were commonly cut off and re-sewn from time to time instead of replacing the flag. If these flags had been used on active duty warships, it is thus possible that observation of this practice would have resulted in an Ensign with the dimensions of 12 X 19 instead of 12 x 23. Coincidentally, both of these flags show fraying from being flown.

    I guess now I need to find whatever Naval Regulations that existed in the early part of the 20th Century that might set out this practice and/or limit the extent to which the fly dimension of an Ensign could be reduced...if such regulations existed at all.

    Thanks again.


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