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Customs, Excise and Trade Department Jack 1929-1948 (British Mandate of Palestine 1923-1948)

Last modified: 2015-11-23 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: customs | canton: union flag | disc (white): badge | mandate of palestie |
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[Customs, Excise and Trade Department Jack 1929-1948 (British Mandate of Palestine)] 1:1 image by Željko Heimer

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The Israel customs flag and jack is a replacement to the British Mandate Customs jack. (...) The Mandate era Customs flag was prescribed in the Customs Rules of 15 March 1929 as follows:

Custom Flag (rules dated 13 September 1930)
2. (1) The flag to be flown on customs house and vessels in the service of the Customs, shall be the blue ensign defaced by the word 'PALESTINE' within a white disc.
2. (2) In addition to the Blue Ensign hoisted on the vessel's aft, vessels in the service of the Customs will fly also a flag on the top of the vessel in the shape of square blue flag with the symbol of the British flag on the top close to the hoist and the word 'CUSTOMS' written in the end of the flag.

Both flags were adopted 13 September 1930 and abolished 14 May 1948 by the Israeli customs flag.
Dov Gutterman, 5 and 8 September 2001

There is no evidence how this jack looked like exactly. The square jack pattern is shown in Flaggenbuch 1939 captioned Gösch der Schiffe der Verwaltungsbehörden der Kolonien, Schutzgebeite, Mandate usw. — jack of ships of governmental authorities of the Colonies, Protectorates, Mandates etc. This shows a square blue ensign with white disk in the middle of the fly half inscribed Platz für das Abzeichen, place for the badge. There is no indication how the badge looked like exactly, it is only said that it included the word "CUSTOMS". In my reconstruction I have followed this as literally as possible. Of course, the drawing should not be taken for granted.
Željko Heimer, 18 February 2002

On 25th March 1929 the Post Master General requested a flag that could be used to identify mail carrying vessels. A Blue Ensign defaced 'PALESTINE POSTS' was considered until it was pointed out that since there was now a Palestine Red Ensign it would be more in keeping with Colonial Regulations to have just 'PALESTINE' on a white disc for both the Customs Service and the Postal Department.

The existing Customs ensign was cancelled and Admiralty Letter NL.1284/29 of 2nd May 1929 directed that,

the flag to be flown on Customs Houses and Vessels in the service of the Customs shall be the Blue Ensign defaced by the word PALESTINE in a white circle. Vessels in the service of the Customs shall fly, in addition to the defaced Blue Ensign at the stern, a jack at the bow consisting of a square blue flag with a Union in the upper canton next the staff, defaced in the fly by the word CUSTOMS.

The appearance of the Customs Jack is not certain. The Admiralty Letter specifies that on the ensign the word 'PALESTINE' will be in a white circle, but on the jack only that, the word 'CUSTOMS' will be in the fly. The word may have been in black letters on a white circle as illustrated, or it may have been in larger white letters applied direct to the blue fly.
In some cases the additional square flag was flown from a mast or yard and not as a jack at the bow.
David Prothero, 4 March 2002