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Britain's national flag has a right way and wrong way up based on the thickness of the white bits in the diagonals. Which is the right way and what makes it right?

asked in Flags, union flag



Paul_Rook answers:

The Union Jack is the right way up in your picture if the thin white line is in the top left corner then the flag is upside down.

I was taught in scouts the if the Union Jack is flown upside down its the equivilent to a distress call and the person flying the flag needs assistance.


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Aiming4777 answers:

Since it was introduced in 1194 AD by Richard I, England was recognised by the flag of Saint George. This is a red cross on a white background (familiar to us all from its use by England football fans).

In 1536, Henry VIII passed an act of union making Wales a province of England. As Wales was a principality and not a country, no changes were necessary to the flag of England.

After Queen Elizabeth I died, King James VI of Scotland inherited the English throne and became King James I of England. James I referred to his two kingdoms as Great Britain. A problem arose of which flag to fly on the king’s ships. In 1606, the problem was solved with a compromise resulting in the creation of the first Union flag.

The flag of Scotland was a white diagonal cross on a blue background (Saint Andrew’s cross). This was combined with the English flag to make a combined flag. A white border was added around the red cross for reasons of heraldry, the rules demanding that no two colours must ever touch. This was known as the British Flag or the flag of Britain.

After the Act of Union in 1707, England and Scotland were joined together with a single Parliament and called the United Kingdom of Britain. At this time the flag became known as the Union, usually the Union Jack as it was still mostly used on navy ships.

The Act of Union of Ireland with England and Scotland in 1801 required the addition of the cross of Saint Patrick (a red diagonal cross on a white background) to the Union Flag of Saint George and Saint Andrew to create the Union Flag that we still use today.

As you have pointed out, the cross of Saint Patrick is not centred. This is because it would have laid exactly on top of the cross of Saint Andrew implying that Ireland was superior to Scotland. However, since Scotland joined the Union before Ireland did, it was considered senior. This is signified by the St Andrew cross appearing above the cross of St Patrick "at the hoist" (the staff), the higher ranking part of the flag.

See these links for more information:
http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/geography/unionjack.html
http://www.baronage.co.uk/bphtm-01/const-9a.html

This link shows the correct way to fly the Union Flag:
http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/geography/unionjack7.html


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Candy.DeRun answers:

The thin white line to the bottom left was what I was told when they were sewing them on my overalls, or puuting them on my cars.
PS aginst my will - being a citizen of the planet who abhors patriotism!


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