Catalog of the Collection of Flags and signal Flags of the Croatian Maritime Museum Split

Zastave s krme, jarbola i prove, HPM Split, 2003.

The Flags from Stern, Mast and Bow catalog deals with the Collection of flags and signal flags, being among the most numerous collections of the Croatian Maritime Museum Split in terms of the number of artifacts, more precisely it numbers 298 objects. These were mostly inherited from the maritime museums that existed in Split from the mid-1920s until the early 1990s, and a lesser number of objects donated to the Museum.

The catalog is divided into nine chapters that deal with topics from the development and use of flags throughout history, a short glossary, flags on ships, maritime ceremonial, flags that flew on ships on the eastern Adriatic coast covering the period from the Republic of Dubrovnik, the Republic of Venice, the French administration in Dalmatia, the Austrian administrations in Dalmatia, the State of SHS, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Independent State of Croatia, the areas of the Eastern Adriatic in the Second World War, the war flags of the Navy of the Yugoslav National Liberation Army 1942 – 1945, the Federative People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia to the flags of the Republic of Croatia; signal flags and flag signals, flags of shipping societies and maritime companies, flags of foreign countries and signal flag workshops of the Croatian Maritime Museum Split.

In the catalog, under the mentioned chapters, the flags from the Museum’s holdings, which mostly belong to the first and second half of the 20th century, are presented. The oldest item from the Collection is a board with maritime charts that dates back to 1798, and on which all naval flags that were hoisted on ships in all four parts of the world. The immense importance in the Collection is provided by preserved parts of flag masts from the Italian battleship Palestro and from the Italian command ship Re d’Italia from the famous Battle of Lissa in 1866. A special place is given to flags from the period of the Austrian Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and the preserved flags were used from the second half of the 18th century until the end of the First World War. It includes the war ensign of the Austrian Empire / Austria-Hungary, the merchant ensign of Austria-Hungary and an Austrian flag dated in the 19th century, which is awaiting further research because it differs from all other Austrian standardized flags and cannot be fully placed under any historical Austrian flag. From the period of the SHS State SHS the Collection has the flag that was hoisted on SMS Kronprinz Erzherzog Rudolf in 1918. From the period of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the war ensign, which was on the submarine Nebojša in 1935, is kept in the Museum’s holdings. From the period of the partisan war at sea in 1941 – 1945, the Museum, the only one in Croatia, owns two flags from partisan ships from the Makarska coast region from 1942. These are ensigns used before the establishment of the official ensign of the navy and merchant marine of the new of Yugoslavia in December 1943. A large part of the Flag Collection consists of naval, command, rank flags and ship flags from the period of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Some of the naval flags from the Museum’s holdings were flown on the destroyers RE-52 Biokovo, RE-51 Triglav, R-11 Split, R-22 Pula and R-21 Kotor.

The Collection also includes social flags, of which the flag of the Pelješac Maritime Society from the period 1865 – 1891, which was flown by the ships of that shipping company along with the ensign of the Austro-Hungarian Merchant Marine, stands out. Among the social flags, the Adriatic Guard flag presented to the Zemunik Local Committee at a ceremony held in Biograd na Moru on 22 July 1934 stands out.

In the Collection, flags and table flags of shipping companies stand out when the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia founded four shipping companies based in Sušak on 20 January 1947, namely Yugoslav Liner Shipping (Jugolinija), Yugoslav Free Shipping (Jugoslobodna), Adriatic Liner Shipping (Jadrolinija) and Adriatic Free Shipping (Jadroplov).

From the time of the independent Republic of Croatia, the collection includes the flag of the Republic of Croatia that was hung in front of the Gripe fortress (site of the Museum) on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the capture of the fortress in 2001, to the naval ensigns of the warships of the Croatian Navy. A special place is occupied by the flag from the ship DJB-103 Cetina, which was the first warship to raise the Croatian flag in Omiš on 15 September 1991, during the Homeland War.

A special sub-collection in the Museum’s holdings consists of signal flags numbering 135 objects that were created in the period of the 1930s and in the second half of the 20th century. The sub-collection of signal flags includes several examples of the 2 swallow-tailed signal flags “A” and “B”, the 24 rectangular signal flags of the remaining letters of the international alphabet, 7 signal flags for the specific letters of the Croatian alphabet, 13 signal pennants, 3 repeaters and 2 signal flags indicating “starboard” and “port”.

Title: Zastave s krme, jarbola i prove:  Zbirka zastava i signalnih zastava Hrvatskog pomorskog muzeja Split
[In English: Flags from Stern, Mast, and Bow: The Flags and Signal Flags Collection of the Croatian Maritime Museum Split]
Author: Daniela Kušpilić
Publisher, place, year: Hrvatski pomorski muzej Split, Split, 2023
ISBN: 978-953-7742-25-6
Binding: paperback
Pages: 172
Dimensions: 24 x 17 cm
Price: 10 EUR
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