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Finland: Historical Flags (1919)

Last modified: 2014-05-24 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: finland: historic flags (1919) | cross: scandinavian | scandinavian cross | cannons (per saltire) | lion |
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Overview

Kari K. Laurla's book "Suomalainen päällikkyysmerkki" (The Finnish Signs of Command, 1986), includes a very interesting flag chart form 1919 with the first set of flags of office and command for the defense forces of the then newly independent Finland.

It may be interesting to note that the designs were approved on 18 June.1919 by the Regent of Finland, general C. G. E. Mannerheim, only three days before the Finnish Parliament adopted a new constitution that made the country a republic. The form of state was officially changed on 17 July 1919 when Regent Mannerheim confirmed the constitution after almost a month of hesitation. The first president was elected by the parliament eight days later and in this election Regent Mannerheim lost against the devoted republican K. J. Ståhlberg.

It is not known to what extent these command flags were in use before a renewed set of flags was adopted on 17 May 1920). Some old photographs prove nevertheless that in 1919 command flags were indeed flown on Finnish navy ships which means that at least a part of these flags must have been in use then. Many, if not most, of the 1920 command flags were also based on the 1919 designs and some of them are still in use today with only minor modifications.

Contrary to the contemporary state and war flag (from 1918), no crowns appear on the command flags. This might be explained by the fact that at the time of their adoption it was rather obvious that Finland was soon to become a republic.

In all images included in the chart the heraldic roses and fimbrations of the coat-of-arms are missing. This may be a mistake caused by the small size of the images - after all, both the 1918 and the 1920 flags included these details. However, making the gifs I decided to stick to the chart because it is the only source that I am aware of and I didn't want to base the images on speculation.
Marco Pribilla, 25 December 2002


Masthead Pennant

(sotaviiri / örlogsvimpel)

[Masthead pennant, 1919] image by Ossi Raivio and Marco Pribilla

White pennant with the national flag at the hoist (still in use). (Ossi Raivio's image recoloured)


Jack

(rainelippu / gös)

[Jack, 1919] image by Marco Pribilla

Square white flag with blue cross on top of yellow saltire bordered red.


Regent's Flag

(valtionhoitajan lippu / riksföreståndarens flagga)

[Regents flag, 1919] image by Marco Pribilla

Three-tongued national flag with red canton holding the lion from the coat-of-arms.


Regent's Broad Pennant

(valtionhoitajan leveäviiri / riksföreståndarens bredvimpel)

[Regents pennant, 1919] image by Marco Pribilla

Swallow-tailed, white over blue with coat-of-arms at the hoist. This design (the roses added) became the President's broad pennant in 1920. It is still in use, but since 1938 in a longer form.


Flag of the Supreme Commander

(ylipäällikön lippu / överbefälhavarens flagga)

[Supreme Commander flag, 1919] image by Marco Pribilla

Three-tongued national flag with square coat-of-arms in the center of the cross and special emblem in canton: a vertical yellow cannon barrel defaced by a sword and fasces (?) in saltire (almost the same as the Commander of the Defense Forces (sotaväenpäällikkö) until 1938 but coat-of-arms without yellow border and roses, and fasces placed on top of the sword).


War Minister's Flag

(sotaministerin lippu / krigsministerns flagga)

[War Minister flag, 1919] image by Ossi Raivio and Marco Pribilla

Three-tongued national flag with special emblem in the canton: two crossed yellow cannon barrels defaced by two crossed brown rifles with bayonets (the emblem is almost the same as in the present Defense Minister's flag)


Flag of the Commander of the Navy

(laivaston päällikön lippu / befälhavarens för flottan flagga)

[Commander of the Navy flag, 1919] image by Marco Pribilla

Plain three-tongued national flag.


Flag of the Commander of the Coast Artillery

(rannikkotykistön komentajan lippu / chefens för kustartilleriet flagga)

[Coast Artillery Commander flag, 1919] image by Ossi Raivio and Marco Pribilla

Rectangular national flag with with special emblem in the canton: blue vertical anchor defaced by two crossed yellow cannon barrels. (since 1938 the Flag of the Commander of the Navy has a similar emblem but with the anchor placed on top of the cannons).


Flag of the Commander of a Naval Base

(sataman päällikön lippu / chefens för örlogshamnen flagga)

[Naval Base Commander flag, 1919] image by Marco Pribilla

White over blue swallow-tailed flag with blue vertical anchor in canton.


Flag of the Commander of a Coastal Fortress

(rannikkolinnoituksen komentajan lippu / komendantens för kustfästning flagga)

[Coastal Fortress Commander flag, 1919] image by Ossi Raivio and Marco Pribilla

Like the Commander of a Naval Base but with the anchor defaced by two crossed yellow cannon barrels.

Admiral's flags

Admiral's Flag

(amiraalin lippu / amiralsflagga)

[Admiral rank flag, 1919] image by Marco Pribilla


Vice Admiral's Flag

(vara-amiraalin lippu / viceamiralsflagga)

[Vice Admiral rank flag, 1919] image by Marco Pribilla


Rear Admiral's Flag

(kontra-amiraalin lippu / kontreamiralsflagga)

[Rear Admiral rank flag, 1919] image by Marco Pribilla

Similar pattern as the British admirals have but the flag is square and the cross and balls are blue (abolished in 1920)


Flag of the Chief of Naval Staff

(laivaston esikuntapäällikön lippuviiri / marinstabschefens flagga)

[Chief of Naval Staff flag, 1919] image by Ossia Raivio and Marco Pribilla

Three-tongued national flag, only shorter and becoming narrower towards the fly, with blue vertical anchor in canton. (Still in use for the commander of a fleet.).


Broad Pennant of a Flotilla Commander

(laivueen pä'ällikön leveäviiri / flottiljchefens bredvimpel)

[Floatilla Commander pennant,, 1919] image by Marco Pribilla

The pennant was attached to the staff "twistably" with only one lanyard until 1938 when the form of the fly was also slightly changed.


Broad Pennant of a Semi-Flotilla Commander

(Osastopäällikön leveäviiri / avdelningschefs bredvimpel)

[Semi-Flotilla Commander Pennant,,1919] image by Marco Pribilla

Swallow-tailed, yellow over red, at the hoist a blue cross in white field. In use until 1938 when changed to the present pattern.


Harbourmaster's Broad Pennant

(Redin vanhimman päällikön leveäviiri / äldsta befälhavarens på redden bredvimpel)

[Regents flag, 1919] image by Ossi Raivio and Marco Pribilla

White triangular pennant with blue cross (same as today).