This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

United Kingdom - Royal Mail

Last modified: 2012-02-25 by rob raeside
Keywords: royal mail | post horn | crown |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors



[Royal Mail Pennant]image by Miles Li, 7 January 2012


See also:


Description of the Pennant

I did not know that the Royal Mail Pennant was still current. It doesn't appear to be shown in the current Edition of BR20, and Graham (Bartram) was pretty thorough?
Christopher Southworth, 9 March 2004

I have recently read on the internet that the new ocean liner Queen Mary 2 will fly the Royal Mail Pennant.
Miles Li, 9 March 2002

Note that the pre-1952 version of the pennants are shown here; post-1952 version should feature the St Edward's Crown instead.
Miles Li, 7 January 2012


Royal Air Mail Pennant

[Royal Air Mail Pennant]image by Miles Li, 7 October 2010

This is the British Royal Air Mail Pennant. During the 1930s it was flown on land by mail-carrying aircraft, alongside the Civil Air Ensign. But even back then some aircraft did away with the flags, and instead painted logos similar to the mail pennant onto the fuselages; this was still the practice a few years ago.
Miles Li, 9 March 2004


Royal Mail Pennant 1884-1902

[Royal Mail Pennant 1884]image by Martin Grieve, 24 February 2008

Royal Mail Pennant 1902-19??

[Royal Mail Pennant 1902]image by Martin Grieve, 24 February 2008

The overseas mail service was the responsibility of the Post Office which hired privately owned packet ships, mostly based in Falmouth, to carry the mail. In 1823 the service was taken over by the Admiralty who had surplus ships and personnel. However the advent of reliable steam ships meant that it was possible to organise the service on a regular basis and in 1840 the Admiralty awarded annual subsidies to companies that contracted to carry mail to specified time-tables. Ships operating the service were granted the title Royal Mail Ship and a special pennant for Royal Mail Ships was introduced by Admiralty letter 26 April 1884.

The pennant was modified by Admiralty letter 19 June 1902 when the Victorian crown was replaced by a Tudor crown, and a short curved post horn added.

Although mail now goes by air the tradition of the pennant has been retained. On 8 January 2004 when 'Queen Mary 2' was named in Southampton, Pamela Conover, Cunard's president said; "Cunard Line carried the mail continuously for over 130 years. And we were proud to prefix the names of our ships with the letters RMS: Royal Mail Ship. Therefore it gives me particular pleasure to announce that today the Royal Mail designated our new ship a Royal Mail Ship, and so when she leaves for America next Monday the Royal Mail pennant will again fly proudly from a Cunard mast."
David Prothero, 24 February 2008