Upside down flag rookie mistake: navy

How many times in your naval career have you seen this happen?

A picture of a Royal Canadian Navy ship flying upside down flag raised some eyebrows over the weekend, but officials say it was an accident.

A keen-eyed social media user snapped a picture of HMCS Fredericton and HMCS Charlottetown docked in Halifax, only Charlottetown’s Canadian flag was flipped.

Flying a flag upside down can be an act of desecration or a sign of distress, but in this case, the navy says it’s neither.

Capt. Mark Greatti, who speaks for Maritime Forces Atlantic, said the vessel recently had a new duty crew come on board, and a novice seaman on ceremonial duty simply made an error.

Greatti said the error was corrected as soon as it was noticed and the sailor responsible was made aware and received extra training.

Greatti said the way the flags are folded can sometimes make it hard for a new member to notice what direction it’s facing before it’s too late — that’s why they practice.

“A new person can easily make that mistake,” he said.

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4 Responses to Upside down flag rookie mistake: navy

  1. BRIAN ROWE says:

    One of our crew did it on the opening of the new Auckland war memorial in 62…five flags one upside down in front of news and tv cameras and audience very embarrassing

  2. Gary Houghton says:

    Similar thing happened on Taranaki in 1974. The ‘Jack’ that was raised at Colours was the ANF not the NZNF. Wasn’t noticed by whoever hoisted it. Unfortunately, there was an RAN ship in and at about 0810 we got a ‘Welcome to the Fleet’ message from them. Much agitation trying to find out what they were referring to and then panic stations trying to find a replacement and rectify the situation before it drew too much attention. Think they retrieved the old one from the gash bucket. By the time the offending flag had been replaced, however, the error had been noticed by quite a few other ships. Command was not amused.
    Fortunately for whoever had hoisted the jack, it was a brand new flag, fresh out the packet and they still had the plastic bag it came out of down the MSO. On the label on the plastic bag it stated ‘New Zealand National Flag’, so it was a Naval Stores faux pas in putting the wrong flag in the bag. Command wasn’t happy about the whole thing though and from recollection instructions had to be put out that all flags being removed from packaging were to be checked for correctness.

  3. BRIAN ROWE says:

    Just as an addition to my last comment…. what happened was five flags had to be lowered at the last post and five flags raised to be broken at the reveille …they came down ok but when the flags were broken… the one upside down was quickly taken down and rehosted but it was still upside down! that’s what was most embarrassing ….we all left by the back entrance to the museum including the Yeoman in charge.

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