1919 - 1948


Top Diagram: Depicts the battleship HMS Neptune and is from the Admiralty Fleet Signal Book 1913. I have found no photographic evidence that this pattern was ever worn as illustrated.

Lower Diagram: Shows 1913 diagram with the changes that took place in 1919 and 1922



Dressing Lines used by between 1919 and 1948


My diagram depicts HMS Duke of York as she appeared at the Review of the Fleet on the Clyde, Scotland, by King George VI in July 1947 and HMS Vanguard on her Royal Tour of South Africa in 1947.The flags were identified by the use of numerous photos taken at these events. Duke of York is also flying the Royal Standard, Union Flag, and Lord High Admiral flags from the mainmast.


Although the Official Diagram pattern above is from the 1913 Flag Signal Book, photographs show that only the 1908 pattern was being worn to the start of World War 1. I have found no evidence that the 1913 pattern was changed during WW1. The first appearance of a 1913-1948 pattern I could find is on an old Movietone newsreel of the Victory Naval Review held at Southend on 21th - 22nd July 1919.

Fore-Down Line.
The order appears to be the same on all ships up to the Red and Yellow Deployment Pennant (31). On ships that used longer lines,the order above the Deployment Pennant appears to have been whatever flags the individual ship chose to use.

Unfortunately, because I cannot find a copy of any Official Flag pattern after 1913, I cannot tell exactly when more flags were added to theofficial dress diagram, or whether there was a list of flags included on later diagrams setting out the flags to be used when the lines needed to be extended.
(The 1949-Official Diagram does set out the flags to be used if extra flags need to be added.)


Changes to the pattern.

There were numerous changes and additions during the life of this pattern.


The new GREEN and RED Flags appear on the 1918 Flag Card . The names were later changed to STARBOARD and PORT Flags. These flags seem to have been introduced in 1909. They are not on the 1908 Flag Card but the Port Flag was flown by HMS Inflexible at the Hudson-Fulton Celebrations in New York in October 1909.

The new Flag "D", yellow with a vertical red centre stripe, became the fourth flag from the stern.The old "D" flag now became the "Screen Flag".

Pennant Y was worn as early as 1921 at the stern end of the Fore to Main line. Although in the 1913 Diagram Flag A is the last flag on this line, no photos show that this occured in actual practice.


PREPARATIVE Flag replaced the RED BURGEE as the flag nearest the stern
on the Main-Down line.


A new international Code of Signals for Merchant Ships was introduced on the
1st Jan 1934. Some of the new flags were adopted by the Royal Navy and used as additional Special Flags. (See diagram below.

Letter 'S' Pennant replaced with flag of Green & White diagonals.
No.5 Pendant added an extra red stripe.
No.9 Pendant changed to Green and White.




An unusual display of flags on HMS CALYPSO in July 1935. Although she has a small mainmast, the STERN to MAINMAST order of flags has been continued to the FOREMAST.