Apr 30, 2015

Church pennant (United Kingdom, Netherlands)

Church pennants are used in warships to denote, usually, that its staff is on religious service or funeral. In signal of respect, it's avoided to send any kind of messages to ships flying the church pennant, except in emergency.

Today I'll present one interesting flag mystery: Why are the British and Dutch church pennants identical? They look like this:

In both countries, the pennant is constituted by St. George's cross in the hoist and Dutch tricolor in the fly. Its use is reported as early as the 1670s.

But why the Dutch church pennant is identical to British church pennant, after all? A version tells that, at least once during the Anglo-Dutch Wars (second half of 17th century), both sides agreed on a temporary cease fire to religious services. Unfortunately, there's no confirmation if it's truth or myth.

A different version says that it's linked William of Orange's flag as King of England (William III), here on a reconstruction by Klaus-Michael Schneider:

Whatever is the origin, it's nice to notice how it survived in both sides of the North Sea to our days. (Just notice how it still used English instead of British flag.)

Comments and suggestions are welcome!