Ensign of the Red Squadron 1801 to 1864.
|Role||Strategic Naval Formation|
|Part of||Navy Royal|
Commonwealth and Protectorate Navy
The Red Squadron was established in 1558 when the Navy Royal was divided into squadrons for command purposes. This was the most senior squadron of the English and later British fleet and in any battle formation was in the centre. It existed until 1864 when coloured squadrons in the Royal Navy were abolished.
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.
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 senior (red) squadron was usually placed in the centre of the line of battle, and always led by the commander-in-chief of the fleet initially the Lord Admiral of England until the creation of the rank of Admiral of the Fleet in 1688. During this period his van division was led by the Vice Admiral England (Red) his rear division by the Rear Admiral of England (Red). From 1688 the Admiral of the Fleet's van division was led by the Vice Admiral of the Red, his rear division by the Rear Admiral of the Red. In 1805 the rank of Admiral of the Red was created until 1864 the van and rear commands remained the same until 1864.
Order of Precedence Red Squadron
Flag Rank Officers
|Flag Officers in order of precedence|
|1.||Lord Admiral of England||Commanded the Fleet and red squadron until 1688|||
|2.||Admiral of the Fleet||Commanded the Fleet and red squadron from 1688-1804|||
|3.||Admiral of the Red||Commanded the red squadron from 1805-1864|||
|4.||Vice-Admiral of the Red||Second in command red squadron 1620-1864|||
|5.||Rear-Admiral of the Red||Third in command red squadron 1620-1864|||
Junior Flag officers
|Junior Officers in order of precedence|
|1.||Commodore First Class||from 1826-1864 used a plain red broad pennant|||
|2.||Commodore Second Class||from 1826-1864 used a blue broad pennant all squadrons|||
|3.||Commodore Distinction||introduced from 1684 to 1826|||
|4.||Commodore Ordinary||introduced from 1684 to 1826|||
- 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.
- Heathcote, T. A. (2002). British Admirals of the Fleet: 1734-1995. Barnsley, England: Pen and Sword. pp. 1–7. ISBN 9781473812703.