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International Signal Flags.
The International Code of Signals (ICOS) was generally accepted at the time of the World War I. At that time the great majority of ships were not equipped with radio then known as the wireless. Communication from ship to ship was carried out by use of "ship flags" and virtually all ships carried a printed copy of the ICOS and a set of the International Signal Flags. Messages were sent by hoisting the flags at a prominent place on the ship.
is white and blue, divided vertically. The white half is next to the mast or at the hoist; the blue half is at the fly, which is swallow tailed.
like A is swallow tailed; it is all red. When hoisted with the code flag indicates the ship in loading or unloading explosives.
is a white pennant with a red ball in the center. When hoisted with the code flag indicates yes or affirmative. C is termed the "White Pennant".
is a blue pennant with a white ball in the center. When hoisted with the code flag indicates no or negative. D is called the "Dog" or the "Blue Pennant".
is also a pennant of three colors. Red at the hoist, white in the center and blue at the fly. E is called the "Tricolor Pennant".
is a red pennant with a white St. George's Cross. F is called the "Fiery Pennant".
is a yellow and blue pennant, yellow at the hoist and blue at the fly. G is called the "Yellow Pennant".
is white and red divided vertically, white at the hoist and the red at the fly.
called the "Black Ball" is a yellow flag with a black ball in the center.
is a flag of blue, white and blue, divided horizontally, white stripe in the center.
is yellow and blue divided vertically. Yellow at the hoist, blue at the fly.
is a flag of yellow and black quartered. Yellow at the upper hoist, yellow at lower fly.
is a blue flag with a white saltire also called a St. Andrew's Cross.
called "blue checkers" is a blue and white checked flag. It has sixteen squares, the square in the upper hoist and lower fly being blue.
is yellow and red divided diagonally yellow at hoist and red at fly. When hoisted with the code flag indicates man overboard.
is a blue flag with a white square in center. "Blue Peter" hoisted with the code flag is the departure flag and indicates the vessel is about to sail.
called "Yellow Jack" is a wholly yellow flag.
is a red flag with a yellow St. George's Cross.
is a white flag with a blue square in center. S is called the "Blue Ball".
is a tricolor flag, red, white and blue, red at hoist, blue at fly.
is a red and white quartered flag, red at upper hoist and at lower fly.
is a white flag with a red saltire or St Andrew's Cross. This is also called "St. Patrick's Saltire".
is a white flag with a blue border and a red square in the center.
is a white flag with a blue St. George's Cross.
is a flag with five yellow bars intersected with five red bars diagonally placed. Yellow at upper hoist, red at lower fly.
is a black, yellow, blue and red flag, quartered diagonally. Black at mast, blue at fly, yellow at the top, red at the bottom.
is a pennant with red and white stripes vertically placed, red at hoist, red at fly. The "Red Hag" is intersected by the two white vertical bars.
THE BRITISH SIGNAL MANUAL, published by James Brown and Son, 1912.
INTERNATIONAL CODE OF SIGNALS, published by Hydrographic Office, Washington, 1909.
Last Revision: March 4, 2007.
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