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Popham's Signal flags

Last modified: 2011-12-24 by rob raeside
Keywords: signal flags | trafalgar | admiral nelson |
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This is an incomplete series of signal flags based upon the system devised by Captain Sir Home Popham in 1800 and modified in 1803 and 1812. It is important for the system was used by Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805. The flags presented are illustrated in Wilson's Flags at Sea in a black and white Petra Sancta plate entitled Nelson's Signal at Trafalgar.

The flags were numerary flags, the manner of presentation determining the meaning. For instance, the word "England" was represented by hoisting the flags 2-5-3, while the word "Man" is illustrated with an 4(inverted)-7-1 signal (an error in Wilson, as the flag should not be inverted). A reproduction of the signal book at page 80 provides additional signal information (and signals not represented in any detail in Wilson).
Phil Nelson and David Prothero, 30 July 2000

Click on the image for a large view.

Numeric 0

[Popham Signal 0]

Numeric 1

[Popham Signal 1]

Numeric 2

[Popham Signal 2]

Numeric 3

[Popham Signal 3]

Numeric 4

[Popham Signal 4]

Numeric 5

[Popham Signal 5]

Numeric 6

[Popham Signal 6]

Numeric 7

[Popham Signal 7]

Numeric 8

[Popham Signal 8]

Numeric 9

[Popham Signal 9]


[Popham preparatory pennant]

Finishing pennant

[Popham finishing pennant]

Substitute pennant

[Popham substitute pennant]

Images by Phil Nelson