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Myanmar Ensigns

Burma

Last modified: 2018-12-02 by zachary harden
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Naval Ensign

[Naval Ensign of Myanmar] 1:2, by Željko Heimer

White flag with red canton with white star, and blue anchor in lower fly.
Željko Heimer, 1 July 2002

I have seen no current evidence of a Myanmar Merchant ensign or a Myanmar state ensign.  I spent quite a bit of time on the Ayeyarwaddy, Bago and Yangon rivers last week and was impressed by what I didn't see. There were two Myanmar Five Star Line ships anchored just west of Pansodan Jetty on the Yangon River in Yangon. Both ships were flying the Myanmar national flag as their ensign. One ship flew the Myanmar Five Star Line flag from its jack staff while the other flew the lines flag from its main mast starboard side. I saw several patrol boats and numerous barges and river ferries. The patrol boats flew nothing at all while the barges and river ferries also flew the Myanmar national flag.

The primary Myanmar flag maker I visited had no "supposed" merchant flags or state ensigns in stock, and as best as I could tell, had never seen a sample of either. I never actually saw a naval ensign flying from a ship, but the flag maker had several in stock. I took the attached photo. It measures 36" x 65" which roughly translates to the 5 to 9 proportional standard which applies to all Myanmar flags.

Clay Moss, 17 June 2003

With regard to the ensign I discovered for the first time [on my trip in 2002], it seems the flag is 1:2 and the anchor is in the corner.
Michel Lupant, 28 December 2003

A flag with a blue star in place of the anchor was reported in Franciae Vexillae, but this is now known to be an incorrect report.
Michel Lupant, 28 December 2003


Naval Ensign - reported variants (dubious)

[Flag of Myanmar] 5:9, by Željko Heimer, as reported in Album des Pavillons (2000)

White flag with red cross throughout and blue canton with white emblem. Neither Smith (1975), Smith (1982) nor Crampton (1990f) mention this flag; all of them designate the national flag as CSW/CSW. Therefore I speculate that this flag is recently (re-?)adopted. On the other hand, Album des Pavillons (1990) shows a series of other ensigns - civil, state and air - which are never corrected in subsequent corrections, but are now not shown in Album des Pavillons (2000). Therefore I guess that Armand du Payrat got no confirmation of these. Further, no other major vexillological work shows these ensigns, and I propose a theory that they actually never existed. There may have been such ensigns with the former (pre-1974) 1+5 stars flag as reported (actually I have no source on this, but that is only because I lack sources from period between 1939 and 1975). My theory is that after the emblem in canton was changed in 1974 someone supposed that it was done thus in all the flag variants and showed them so in Album des Pavillons (1990).
Željko Heimer, 30 June 2002

With this Burmese military video as my evidence (using the pre-2010 national flag) this naval flag and the air force flag at mm~.html#afed are debunked as fiction. However, I am not certain when this video was first published.
Zachary Harden, 19 November 2018

[Possible Naval Ensign of Myanmar] by Željko Heimer

The naval ensign described above has never existed in real life. The real naval ensign, shown on photos on Jane's Fighting Ships, is a horizontal bicolour, sky blue over navy blue, with a white five-pointed star (half the width of the ensign) at the centre of the ensign.
Miles Li, 30 June 2002

Myanmar is a country from which reliable information is very difficult to obtain. Here is my evidence:

  1. the white ensign described in Album des Pavillons (2000) comes from Glen Hodgin's visit in October 1999 to the Myanmar ambassador in Sri-Lanka (a former admiral in Myanmar Navy).
  2. since then, Glen saw in Jane's a photo dated 1993 similar to the one described by Miles but red over blue, and the national flag used as jack.
  3. in Franciae Vexilla, Dec 2000, Jean Renault reported a naval ensign seen in 1999 on a river patrol boat: a white 5-pointed star on a red canton, a blue 5-pointed star on low fly on white field.
  4. Michel Lupant reported in May 2002 a naval ensign (photo taken by him in a naval headquarter), white 5-pointed star on red canton, blue anchor on low fly on white field.

I suppose this latter is the correct naval ensign today. It will be published as such in next oncoming corr 2 to Album des Pavillons.
Armand du Payrat, 1 July 2002

[Possible Naval Ensign of Myanmar] by Željko Heimer

A horizontal bicolour, red over navy blue, with a white five-pointed star. Both ensigns above are reported from Jane's Fighting Ships. Is it possible that one report is
wrong, or are there two different photos we are talking about? The second one was accompanied by the national flag as the jack.
Željko Heimer, 1 July 2002


Flag of the Navy

[Navy flag] located by Ian Sumner, 4 April 2007

Shown on the Military Photos.net forum is the Navy flag ('Tatmadaw Yay').
Located by Ian Sumner, 4 April 2007

, 4 April 2007


Civil Ensign (dubious)

[Civil Ensign of Myanmar] by Željko Heimer, as reported in Album des Pavillons (1990)

Horizontal bicolour of blue over red with the white emblem as in the national flag in upper stripe at hoist.

Željko Heimer, 1 July 2002


State Ensign (dubious)

[State Ensign of Myanmar]  by Željko Heimer, as reported in Album des Pavillons (1990)

Government ships ensign (except warships). Blue ensign with the national flag in canton.

Željko Heimer, 1 July 2002


Myanmar Air Force flag

[Air Force flag of Myanmar] located by Ian Sumner, 5 April 2007

Shown on the Military Photos.net forum is the Air Force flag ('Tatmadaw Lay').
located by Ian Sumner, 5 April 2007

[Air Force Flag of Myanmar] by Rob Raeside

This green Myanmar Air Force flag was described as such by a flag seller in Yangon.
Clay Moss, 2 July 2003

Air Force Ensign

[Air Force Ensign of Myanmar] by Ivan Sache

This flag was stocked by a flag manufacturer in Yangon who called it the Myanmar Air Force flag. I looked for this flag in front of the Air force unit at Yangon International Airport, but saw no flags flying at all. The Mig's were certainly interesting to look at though. They are painted in a really interesting blue camouflage. The roundel and fin marking are exactly the same as on the illustration below.
Clay Moss, 18 June 2003

My rendition of the Air Force flag is based on Clay's photograph.  It seems to be 5:7 rather than 5:9, unless a part of the flag had remained folded.
Ivan Sache, 18 June 2003

Note on the Myanmar Air Force flag how small the triangle roundel is and where it's located. If the flag was vertically divided into fourths, the roundel would occupy the lower corner of the 4th fly quarter. The roundel is roughly 6 inches tall on the 36 inch wide flag. The white star is 9 inches tall.
Clay Moss, 25 June 2003

Unidentified flag

[unknown flag from Myanmar] by Clay Moss

Here's another interesting Myanmar Air Force flag of some sort. I'm not sure what it is, and the manufacturer was not able to explain it to me. The bird emblem in the middle is double sided with the bird facing toward the hoist on the reverse side. I brought home a flag similar to this one except mine has a dark green background and a different bird.
Clay Moss, 18 June 2003

Air Force Ensign (dubious variant)

[dubious variant of Air Force Ensign of Myanmar]  by Željko Heimer, as reported in Album des Pavillons (1990)

Light blue field with national flag in canton and the roundel (blue-white-gold triangle) at the lower fly.

Ivan Sache, 29 January 1998

With this Burmese military video as my evidence (using the pre-2010 national flag) this naval flag and the air force flag at mm~.html#afed are debunked as fiction. However, I am not certain when this video was first published.
Zachary Harden, 19 November 2018

See also: previous air force ensign (pre-1974)


Fin Flash and Aircraft Marking

[Old Burma fin Flash] Željko Heimer

Former Burma was of the exceptional states [with] its fin flash as nothing to do with the national flag. The Tambaw Lay used a square, vertical yellow/gold-white-blue (2:1:2) as its flash. Based on Wheeler (1986).
Dov Gutterman
, 8 October 1999

The Burmese (and Myanmar) fin flash is still in use today (since 1955).
Dov Gutterman, 25 March 2000

[Myanmar roundel] by Željko Heimer

The current aircraft "roundel" consists of three concentric equilateral triangles of blue-white-yellow.
Željko Heimer, 30 June 2002

Formed as the Union of Burma Air Force in 1955 , the Myanmar Air Force (Tamdaw Lay) has used the same markings since its formation. A yellow white blue triangle and corresponding vertical stripes (2:1:2) as fin flash. These markings are reported by Cochrane & Elliott (1998) and Wheeler (1986).
Dov Gutterman, 20 June 2004


Chief of Air Staff

[Myanmar Chief of Air Staff] by Miles Li

Flags of All Nations (HMSO 1958) shows this flag as "air force senior officer". No naval equivalent is shown. It is not clear whether this flag is still in use.
Miles Li, 14 February 2004