Commodore Distinction

From Naval History Archive
Jump to navigationJump to search
Commodore Distinction
Flag Commodore distinction Red squadron 1806 to 1826.jpg
Flag Commodore distinction Red squadron (1806-1826)
Country United Kingdom
Service branchRoyal Navy
Next higher rankRear-Admiral of the Blue
Next lower rankCommodore Ordinary

A Commodore Distinction (Cdre) was a former temporary flag rank of the Royal Navy above Commodore Ordinary and below Rear-Admiral of the Blue. The rank was established in 1684 to distinguish responsibility. The commodore ordinary was defined as (those commanding ships themselves) whilst the higher ranked commodore distinction was defined as those commanding a naval station or a squadron (those with subordinate line captains). The rank was abolished in 1826 and replaced by Commodore First Class.


The rank of commodore was introduced during the 17th century in 1663 (though not legally established until 1806). In 1674 the navy introduced two classes of commodore, the first known as a Commodore Distinction and the other a Commodore Ordinary; these would later evolve into Commodore First Class and Commodore Second Class. In 1734 the title of commodore was formally approved by an order in council.[1] They were formally separated into first class (those with subordinate line captains) and second class (those commanding ships themselves) in 1826. The previous broad red and blue pennants were abolished in 1864 along with the coloured squadrons, the commodore of the white's broad pennant with the Cross of St George remained as the command flag for commodores first class, who wore the same sleeve lace as rear admirals. The white broad pennant with a red ball was introduced as the command flag for commodores second class. The appointment of commodore second class has been in abeyance since 1958, leaving the pennant with a single red ball to cover all Royal Navy commodores.

Rank Insignia White and Blue Squadrons


  1. Perrin, W. G. (William Gordon) (1922). "IV:Flags of Command: Pendants of Command, Commodores". 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. p. 102.