Flying the Union Flag (or Union Jack)

The Union Flag is one of the best-known national symbols in the world. This is not surprising as it has been around for over 400 years with only minor changes. The Union Flag signifies the unity of the nations that make up the United Kingdom and dependencies, and demonstrates the bonds of citizenship which we all share. Whatever our differences may be, whatever our faith, culture, political views, ethnicity, first language or traditional customs, we can all stand beneath this flag united together in common purpose.   But for too long our flag has been taken for granted and largely ignored. Few children are taught about it in school, few people know its history or even the correct way to fly it. It is time that this changed and we became familiar with our flag, because all of us have the right to fly the flag and may use it on land wherever and whenever we wish. It is the people’s flag as well as the state flag.

UK Government Departments have the freedom to fly the Union Flag on their buildings all year round in addition to the designated fixed flag flying days, they encourage everyone to follow this example, to champion the Union Flag and fly it daily as a symbol of national pride.

All serving and ex-service personnel will know, or should do, the correct way to fly and display the Union Flag......
  This page is for those people who are not sure.

     This is how it should be when flown from a pole.

The broader (wider) diagonal white stripe, (shown above in the yellow box), should be at the top on the side of the flag nearest the flagpole.   If the flag is not on a flagpole but draped on a wall, over railings or in a window etc., the wider diagonal white stripe should always be shown at the top of the left hand side as one looks at it.  (See below.)
If hung vertically the broad white diagonal should be uppermost in the top-left corner and if a number are displayed in close proximity they should all be displayed the same way.
When depicted in print it is always taken that the left hand side is the side closest to the flagpole.

This is how the flag should be displayed when not attached to a flagpole.

If you have displayed the Union Flag supporting Britain during any international sporting event etc
 don't put it away in your garage or loft ----- please keep it flying!

Did you know...........?
No permission is needed to fly the National Flag as it is excluded from most planning and advertising regulations, although permission may be required to erect a flagpole.
(I know that two years ago a chap flew the Union Flag with 'ENGLAND' written across it in support of a international sports event.  His local council told him to either apply for permission or take it down. - They considered it to be 'advertising' !!)
(If he was supporting England I don't know why he didn't fly the St. George flag with 'ENGLAND' written on it.)

Flags are normally flown from sunrise to sunset but they may also be flown at night, but if so they should be illuminated.

The National Flag should never be flown in a worn, dirty or damaged condition. To do so is to show disrespect for the Nation.

When a flag becomes tattered or faded and is no longer in a suitable condition for use, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, for example by burning, tearing or cutting into strips that no longer resemble the original flag.

Sometimes it may be desired to display two flags when only one flagpole is available. As long as both flags are British this is possible. The senior flag should fly at the top, with a gap of about 12" (30cm), assuming there is enough vertical space on the pole. For example, the Union Flag can be flown over the flag of England, Scotland or Wales, or over a county, city, or house flag.

When flag shoulder patches are worn on uniforms the flag on the left shoulder or sleeve should show the obverse of the flag (ie. the flagpole at the wearer’s front). If there is a patch on the right shoulder or sleeve it should show the reverse of the flag (ie. still with the flagpole at the wearer’s front).

Half-mast means the flag is flown two-thirds of the way up the flagpole, with at least the height of the flag between the top of the flag and the top of the flagpole.

When a flag is to be flown at half-mast, it should first be raised all the way to the top of the mast, allowed to remain there for a second and then be lowered to the half-mast position. When it is being lowered from halfmast, it should again be raised to the top of the mast for a second before being fully lowered.

The Royal Standard raised above Buckingham Palace when the Queen is in residence measures 38ft x 19ft  (11.5m x 5.8m).

For more information about the Union Flag click here.

Click HERE to go to the 'INDEX' page.

Webmaster:  Richard (Dick) Woolley

e-mail:  [email protected]

 union flag
Keep the flag flying.