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Naval Rank Flags (Chinese Republic)

Last modified: 2020-07-11 by ian macdonald
Keywords: china | chinese republic | sun | war flag | navy: rank flags |
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Naval Rank Flags: Here, the National Geographic of 1917, page 347, item #559 -#560 - #561 - #562 - #564 and #565 reflects the full complement of rank flags. These were apparently adopted in the mid-1913 time-frame and accounts for the fact that the Royal Navy Signaling Handbook of 1913 illustrated only the Naval Ensign.
C. Eugene Baldwin, 10 December 1998

Flags of Minister of Marine, Deputy Minister of Marine, Admiral, and Commodore were adopted on August 1st 1912.
Source: the official gazette: http://gaz.ncl.edu.tw/detail.jsp?sysid=E10D4656  in Chinese.
Akira Oyo, 06 April 2014


Minister of Marine, 1912-28

[Secretary of Navy - China Republic]
image by Akira Oyo and Miles Li, 01 May 2015

This flag is a dark blue field with crossed anchors of white, centered. I have no further information on this flag, but like so many others, indications are that it survived until the Nationalist take-over in 1928 and it underwent a design modification at that time.
C. Eugene Baldwin, 10 December 1998

"Minister of Marine" is translation according to Flags of Maritime Nations (1914). It is the same position of Minister of the Navy and Secretary of the Navy. The current name of this position is "Naval Commander-in-chief", renamed since 1946.
Akira Oyo, 01 April 2014

The radius of each anchor equaled to one-third the width of the flag. Proportions 3:4.
Miles Li, 01 May 2015


Deputy Minister of Marine, 1912-28

[Secretary of Navy - China Republic]
image by Akira Oyo and Miles Li, 01 May 2015

The radius of each anchor equaled to one-third the width of the flag, and the width of the red stripe equaled to one-eighth the width of the flag. Proportions 3:4.
Miles Li, 01 May 2015


Secretary (Minister) of the Navy, 1929-1947

[Secretary of Navy - China Republic]
image by Akira Oyo and Miles Li, 01 April 2014

Description: The flag of the Minister of the navy is shown in both the 1919 and 1930 edition of Jane's Fighting Ships. It is a blue flag with two white crossed anchors.
Glen Robert-Grant Hodgins, 30 March 1998

The nationalist takeover of 1928 caused a minor design modification. I could find no documentation to support the note I have that the design remained the same except a narrow border was placed along the edges. As no evidence exists, from my available sources, it does stand the test of rational deduction since all other rank flags were modified by adding, if not already present, narrow red elements.
C. Eugene Baldwin, 6 December 1998

It was also used in Taiwan, but abolished in 1959.
Akira Oyo, 29 March 2014


Commander-in-Chief of the Navy 1947-1958

[Secretary of Navy - China Republic]
image by Akira Oyo and Miles Li, 01 April 2014


Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Navy 1947-1958

[Deputy Commander-in-chief, ROC Navy]
image by Akira Oyo and Miles Li, 01 April 2014


Admiral, 1912-28

[China Republic, admiral rank flag 1913-28]
image by Miles Li, 01 May 2015

Description: This flag is listed in the 1919 edition of Jane's Fighting Ships. It consists of the canton of the Taiwan flag. The 1930 edition of Jane's Fighting Ships shows a similar Admiral rank flag with a thin horizontal stripe running across the top edge of the flag.
Glen Robert-Grant Hodgins, 30 March 1998

The former rank flag was the KMT [Nationalist Chinese Party] flag, or dark blue field with white, twelve-ray sun centered. This flag would be changed, or slightly modified in 1928 by the Nationalist Government.
Thus, the adoption of this flag as the jack, necessitated a modification to the Admiral's Rank Flag. This was accomplished by adding a narrow red stripe along the topmost edge of the existing flag.
Note: A story told to me many years ago involved the selection of the Chinese Nationalist jack and admiral rank flag went something to this effect. Several Admirals complained to Chiang Kai-shek about taking all the admiral flags for jacks and they were left without the highest naval rank flag. So until more flags were approved and manufactured, the admirals would be undistinguished by an approved rank flag. To which he replied by grabbing a Vice-Admiral's flag near by and turning it upside down and saying "Admiral behold you newly approved rank flag." Which may explain why all the remaining flags were changed to include red stripes in some manner.
C. Eugene Baldwin, 10 December 1998

Chinese Naval Jack had been the same with the Quinta-color flag (National Flag) since 1912 to 1928. Since 1924 to 1928, KMT's flag had been its naval jack, but not Chinese Naval Jack. Meanwhile, KMT also revised its Admiral's ensign, which became Chinese Admiral's Ensign since 1929.
Akira Oyo, 30 March 2014

Basically the same as the post-1928 naval jack, but the diameter of the sun was only half the width of the flag, with the length of each ray equaled to only half the radius of the disc. Proportions 3:4.
Miles Li, 01 May 2015


Vice Admiral, 1912-28

[China Republic, admiral rank flag 1913-28]
image by Miles Li, 01 May 2015

Basically the same as the post-1928 Vice Admiral flag, the diameter of the sun being half the width of the flag, but the length of each ray equaled to only half the radius of the disc, and the width of the red stripe equaled to one-eighth the width of the flag. Proportions 3:4.
Miles Li, 01 May 2015


Rear Admiral, 1912-28

[China Republic, admiral rank flag 1913-28]
image by Miles Li, 01 May 2015

Basically the same as the post-1928 Rear Admiral flag, the diameter of the sun being half the width of the flag, but the length of each ray equaled to only half the radius of the disc, and the width of each red stripe equaled to one-eighth the width of the flag. Proportions 3:4.
Miles Li, 01 May 2015


Commodore, 1912-28

[Commodore rank flag, 1912]
image by Miles Li, 02 May 2015

The commodore's rank flag would be identical to the Admirals except it would be a swallow-tail/forked configuration.
C. Eugene Baldwin, 10 December 1998

The diameter of the sun was half the width of the flag, with the length of each ray equaled to half the radius of the disc. Proportions 3:4; the length from the hoist to the mid-point of the swallow-tail was 2.5/4 the length of the flag.
Miles Li, 02 May 2015


Commodore, 1928-1986

[Commodore rank flag, 1928-1986]
image by Miles Li, 31 March 2014

The commodore's rank flag was as its predecessor, but with a narrow red strip along the edges of the swallowtail/fork.
C. Eugene Baldwin, 10 December 1998

It was also used in Taiwan, ROC abolished the rank in 1956, but removed this flag from the Act in early 1986. That is, it was abolished de facto in 1956 and de jure in 1986.
Akira Oyo, 29-31 March 2014


Senior Officer - 1912-

[Senior Officer, 1912]
image by Miles Li, 02 May 2015

Basically the same as the post-1928 Senior Officer's broad pennant, but the diameter of the sun was only half the width of the flag, with the length of each ray equaled to only half the radius of the disc, and the width of the red stripe equaled to one-eighth the width of the flag. Proportions 3:4; the length from the hoist to the mid-point of the swallow-tail was 2.5/4 the length of the flag.
Miles Li, 02 May 2015


Duty Pennant - 1912-

[Senior Officer, 1912]
image by Miles Li, 02 May 2015

Proportions 3:4.
Miles Li, 02 May 2015


Masthead Pennant - 1912-

[Senior Officer, 1912]
image by Miles Li, 02 May 2015

Basically the same as the post-1928 Masthead Pennant, the diameter of the sun was 3/4 the width of the pennant, but the length of each ray equaled to only half the radius of the disc. Proportions 1:40; the length of the blue hoist was one-fifth the length of the pennant.
Miles Li, 02 May 2015