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Hungary - Historical Military Flags (1848)

Last modified: 2021-08-13 by zachary harden
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85th Battalion of the Hungarian Army


image from <w3.swi.hu>, located by István Molnár, 16 July 2000


image by István Molnár, 19 June 2001

I don't know if this flag was used. This is a flag of the Independece War 1848-1849.
"85 Honvéd Zászlóally" means  "85th Battalion of the Hungarian Army"
"Éllyen a Független Magyarhon Szabadsága" means  "Live the Freedom of the Independent Hungary"
István Molnár, 16 July 2000

Description From 'National Relics - A History of the War Banners of the Hungarian: Revolution and War of Independence 1848-1849. Atlantic Studies on Society in Change No. 115.':

"FRAGMENT OF THE BANNER OF THE 85TH HONVÉD BATTALION
The fragmented central parts of the front sheet of the banner. In the middle of the fragment there is the Baroque smaller coat of arms (the so-called Kossuth arms) without the crown and under it an inscription '1849/Junius 1 Napján' (on 1 June, 1849). The coat of arms and the inscription are bordered by a wreath of wheat ears and bunches of grapes held together by a bow of blue ribbon. The inscription above the wreath reads '85 Honvéd Zászlóally' (85th honvéd battalion) and the one under it reads 'Éllyen a Független Magyarhon Szabadsága' (Long live the liberty of independent Hungary), embroidered in red. As indicated by its symbols, the banner must have belonged to an agricultural associationand must have been transformed into a honvéd war banner by the lady donating it. It was consecrated on June 1, 1849. After the suppression of the war of independence the banner was saved an preserved by Gábor Kocsis, a Szekler from Árokfalva. It was donated to the National Museum by the Rikánbeloli Honvéd Egyesület in 1894. From there it got into the possesion of the War Museum in 1936. Made presumably by Mrs. Rafael Benko, née Rozália Lázár in 1849. A single-sheet silk ripp embroidered with silk thread and purl, decorated with pressed and gilded silver lamellas. Size: 124 by 74 centimetres Inventory number: HTM 39/ZI"
This picture is a well reconstruction of the original flag...
István Molnár, 18 June 2001

See also: <mek.oszk.hu>


Komárom County Home Guard

Here is a photo of the Home Guard of Komárom County (1848).
István Molnár, 24 January 2002


Tolna Megyei Lovas Nemzetőrség


image by István Molnár, 11 June 2001


Reverse side
image by István Molnár, 11 June 2001


Coat of Arms on the reverse side
image by István Molnár, 11 June 2001

The images are based on the photo of the flag. Description from 'National Relics - A History of the War Banners of the Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence 1848-1849. Atlantic Studies on Society in Change No. 115.':
"BANNER OF THE MOUNTED NATIONAL GUARD OF TOLNA COUNTY
A Hungarian tricolour. In the white stripe on its front the Hungarian arms is painted into a small pointed shield. Above the curved upper end of the shield there is the Hungarian crown. On the back the arms of Tolna County is displayed irt the same manner. In 1849 the banner was seized by the Russians at Világos. In 1941 it was returned to Hungary. It got to the Military History Museum following its second return in 1948. Restored by Mrs. Áipli, née Mária Faragó in 1998.
A single-sheet banner made in 1848 frorn silk ripp, with paínted decoration. Size: 105 by 95 centimetres Inventory number: HTM 23/ZI"
István Molnár, 11 June 2001

Here is a photo of the flag and a photo of the detail taken by me at the Museum of the Hungarian Military History.
István Molnár, 26 March 2006


Torda Megyei Nemzetőrség


image by István Molnár, 22 June 2001

Description From 'National Relics - A History of the War Banners of the Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence 1848-1849. Atlantic Studies on Society in Change No. 115.'
"BANNER OF THE NATIONAL GUARD UNIT OF TORDA COUNTY - A double-sheet banner made in 1848 from silk, embroidered and painted. Size 94/89 centimetres. Inventary number: 22/ZI. On its front side there is an embroiered blazon with the crown and the traditional Baroque-style shield bordered by a wreath of olive branches. In the right field there are four silver fesses. The reverse side displays the arms of Torda County. The three free edges are bordered with triangles facing each other in the national colours. The banner is unusally suspended, the axis of the escutheon forming a right angle to the staff. It was probably used either by the 11th Székely (Szekler) or by the 15th Mátyás (Matthias) huszár (cavalry) regiment. According to the Russian records it was seized by the Russian troops at Világos from Bem's army corps. It was returned to Hungary first in 1941. In 1948 it got to the Military History Museum. Restored by Márta Tóth in 1998."
Világos is now Siria (Arad county, Romania). Torda county is one of the oldest Hungarian counties. It was devided into two parts in 1886. The eastern part was united with Maros-szék (Maros county of the Székely Land), - now Mures county of Romania. The western part was united with Aranyos-szék (Aranyos county of the Székely Land), now in Cluj and Alba counties of Romania.)
István Molnár, 22 June 2001


Viennese Legion


image by István Molnár, 6 June 2001

The image is based on the photo of the flag. The original flag is a tricolour with painted Coat of Arms. Description From 'National Relics - A History of the War Banners of the Hungarian: Revolution and War of Independence 1848-1849. Atlantic Studies on Society in Change No. 115.':
"The Banner of the Viennese Legion - A one-sheet banner made in 1848 from silk damask, with painted images. Size 155 by 122 centimetres. Inventary number HTM 24/Zl - On the front of the red, white, and green banner there is the Hungarian arms with the crown and four silver fesses in its right field. An inscription is painted in gold under the escutcheon saying 'Szabadság, Egyenlőség, Testvériség' (Liberty, Wquality, Fraternity). Below this one is another also in gold: 'Wiener Legion für Ungarn'. The reverse side is identical with the front. There were several units fighting in the war of independence under the name Bécsi-Wiener Legion, it is therefore impossible to tell which of them used this particular banner. It was seized by the Russians at Világos, was restored to Hungary in 1941 for the first time and in 1948 for the second time when it got to the Military History Museum. Restored by Mrs. Laki, Ilona Tóth in 1997." (Világos, Arad county now Siria, Arad county, Romania)
István Molnár, 6 June 2001

Here is another photo of the flag taken by me at the Museum of the Hungarian Military History.
István Molnár, 17 March 2006


Other Units Flags


3rd Honvéd Battalion (1848)
image by István Molnár, 16 January 2006

Here is the translation from <www.sulinet.hu>, located by Dov Gutterman, 24 January 1999:
"Our Escaped FlagsThe War History Museum guards flags remaining from the 1848-49 Revolution and War of Liberation. Each has its own history. Here's a sampler:

The Hunyadi Volunteer Corps' Flag
After the victory of the Revolution of 1848, the Hungarian Parliament passed a resolution bringing back, in its "ancient right" the country's coat-of-arms and national colours. Later, these -methodically combined with the counties' CoA- appeared on the flags of the National Guard, which had been in preparation since March with great speed. The population of each county prepared and donated the flags of that county's National Guard. To standardize all the different flags, the Parliament passed a decree, though it did not meet with much success.

The Regular Flag of an Unidentified Corps
The real strength of the 1848-49 War of Liberation was not the National Guard, but rather the specialized and enthusiastic Hungarian Army, whose first two batallions were drafted in the capital city (Buda). The gigantic parade for the flag-blessing took place on June 24 1848, in Pest, in Újpiac Square (now Erzsébet Square). The flag, which the contemporary press enthusiastically wrote about, saying "finally, the first Hungarian flag par excellence is born", became the Hungarian Army's flags' standard of measure. about its origins, -since it was not regulated by a decree, at least not as far as the archivists have discovered- we know little. It was probably prepared in Óbuda. Tradition holds József Knopp as the standard painter of "Madonna-ic" flags. The young artist from Óbuda studied in Munich and Vienna, and upon hearing of the revolution, returned to the capital (Buda). The regiment's commander, György Lázár, probably entrusted him with the preparation of the flag. The flags are formed in the Hungarian tradition, but their origins can be traced to the empire's flags. The Ministry of Defence declared these flags as "prepared according to regulations" and distributed one to each corps. Many corps, mainly the 3rd, 4th and 5th Batallions stuck to their unregulated flags, and that is why some corps have two banners.

Company Flag - Decoration
The first "standard" flag had an interesting fate. In the battle of Komárom (Komarno) on Jul.14 1849, an Austrian soldier ripped it out of the standard-bearer's hands, and during the ensuing scuffle, one of its corners was ripped off. The loss of the flag - an incident of great shame in the eyes of the batallion - meant its recapture. The Austrian commander, however, contrary to orders, only burned the staff and the decorative ribbon, received from the flag's seamstress, Mrs. Lajos Batthyány, at the nightly campfire. The banner itself was guarded by the Austrian family, and in 1930 was purchased from the grandson for the sum of 1,500 pengő". The flag, however, still haden't played out its fate entirely: in 1945, it ended up in the hands of the Red Army, and was only returned from 'internment' in 1948."

There is also the flag of the 3rd Honvéd Battalion
Georges Kovari III, 25 January 1999 and István Molnár, 18 June 2001


Flags at the Museum of the Hungarian Military History

Here are photos of flags from 1848-49 that I took during my visit at the Museum of the Hungarian Military History:

  • The flag of the 15th Hungarian Homeguard Battalion (1848-49) and another photo of this flag
  • The Coat of Arms of Zólyom county on the flag of the 50th Hungarian Homeguard Battalion (formerly The Hunyadi Volunteer Corps 1848) and photo of the whole flag
  • Unidentified squadron flag after the dethronement (1849) and another photo of this flag
  • Another unidentified squadron flag after the dethronement (1849) and another photo of this flag
  • The flag of an unidentified Homeguard Battalion (1848) and another photo of this flag
  • The center of the flag of the 49th Hungarian Homeguard Battalion (1849)
  • Banner of The National Guard Unit Of Torda County (1848)
  • Squadron flag (1848)
  • The flag of the Italian Legion (1849)
  • Flag with the Patient-helper and Burying Association of the Homeguards of 1848-49. The inscription: "SZ. MARIA ISTEN ANNYA - MAGYARORSZÁG VÉDŐJE (ST. MARY MOTHER OF GOD - PATRON SAINT OF HUNGARY)".
  • Pest County Home Guard 4th Battalion - flag and detail
  • 1st Hungarian Homeguard Battalion (1848) - flag and detail
  • Flag of The National Guard Unit Of Bihar County (1848)

István Molnár, 17 and 26 March 2006

There is a flag depicting the Hungarian Legion in Italy. I have a photo/copy of a Hungarian Legion flag during the same period, yet the flag is different. The flag I found is shown at the Royal Armory in Turin. I know that the Hungarian Legion was 5 000 strong, but do not know if there were more flags.
Edward, 5 June 2009