Blue Squadron

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Blue Squadron
Blue Ensign from 1801 animated.gif
Ensign of the Blue Squadron 1801-1864.
Active1558-1864
CountryUnited Kingdom
AllegianceBritish Empire
BranchRoyal Navy
TypeNaval Squadron
RoleStrategic Naval Formation
Part ofNavy Royal
(1558-1649)
Commonwealth and Protectorate Navy
(1649-1659)
Royal Navy
(1660-1864)

The Blue Squadron was established in 1558 when the Navy Royal was divided into coloured squadrons for command purposes. The blue squadron, ranked third or most junior and was generally placed in the wyng or rear of the formation. It existed until 1864 when coloured squadrons in the Royal Navy were abolished.

History

Historically, the English fleet was first divided into three squadrons distinguished by colour in 1558, the Admiral of the English fleet, the Lord Admiral of England's squadron, flew a plain red flag as its ensign.

The Vice-Admiral of the fleet, or Vice-Admiral of England, flew a plain blue flag, and the Rear-Admiral of the fleet flew a plain white flag. Order of precedence was red, blue, and white until May 1596.[1] In 1620 as the Navy Royal was expanding the coloured squadrons were further divided into divisions leading to flag officers being appointed as commanders of their respective division within the squadron.

The blue squadron was usually placed in the wyng/ or rear of the line of battle, and always led a commander-in-chief called the Admiral of the Blue in the centre division of squadron. The squadrons van/front division was led by the Vice-Admiral of the Blue, and the squadrons rear division was led by the Rear-Admiral of the Blue.[2]

Order of Precedence Blue Squadron

The blue squadron, ranked third or most junior and was generally placed in the wyng or rear of the formation, would be commanded by the Admiral of the Blue, and its subdivisions would be led by a Vice Admiral of the Blue (van), and a Rear Admiral of the Blue (rear).[2]

Flag Rank Officers

Flag officers in order of precedence
# flag officer notes ref
1. Admiral of the Blue commanded blue squadron from 1558-1864 [1]
2. Vice-Admiral of the Blue second in command blue squadron from 1620-1864 [1]
3. Rear-Admiral of the Blue Third in command blue squadron from 1620-1864 [1]

Junior Flag officers

Junior Officers in order of precedence
# flag officer notes ref
1. Commodore Second Class from 1826-1864 used a blue broad pennant all squadrons [1]
2. Commodore Distinction introduced from 1674 to 1826 [1]
3. Commodore Ordinary introduced from 1674 to 1826 [1]

Squadron Naval Ensigns (1558-1864)

Included:[1]

Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Perrin, W. G. (William Gordon) (1922). "Flags of Command". British flags, their early history, and their development at sea; with an account of the origin of the flag as a national device. Cambridge, England: Cambridge : The University Press. pp. 85–99.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Heathcote, T. A. (2002). British Admirals of the Fleet: 1734-1995. Barnsley, England: Pen and Sword. pp. 1–7. ISBN 9781473812703.