Embassy Flag,  Pirate flag, Jolly Roger flag

Skull and Crossbones Flag
Jolly Roger flags, pennants and desktop flags


Jolly Roger flags are USA made, and stocked up to 5x8 ft.
200 denier nylon, finished with heading and brass grommets.

Jolly Roger flag

Jolly Roger Boat Flag
12"x18", 200 denier nylon
finished with heading & brass grommets
Jolly Roger boat pennant
10"x15" nylon

Jolly Roger boat flag Jolly Rooger boat pennant

Jolly Roger Desktop Flag
4"x6" soft nylon miniature flag mounted on a 10" black staff
with golden spear point

Jolly Roger desktop flag

Jolly Roger lapel pin
Etched & Die Struck Enamel flag lapel pins on brass
3/4" to 1" (19 to 24 mm)

Jolly Roger flag lapel pins

Jolly Roger outdoor flags
are USA made of nylon flag material and are finished with a canvas heading and two brass grommets on the hoist side, 2 rows of stitching top and bottom sides and 4 rows of stitching on the fly side. They are attached to the flagpole by means of a halyard (rope) and flag snaps, or to smaller poles with flag fasteners. Standard stock sizes for Jolly Roger flags are 2x3 ft, 3x5 ft, 4x6 ft, 5x8 ft . Larger flag sizes are available made ot order.

Jolly Roger boat flags are nylon, 12”x18” size with 2 brass grommets, Jolly Roger boat pennants are 10x15" with grommets.

Jolly Roger desktop flags are made in the United States. Size is 4 x 6 inch, lightweight nylon material, hemmed all four sides, mounted on 10” black staffs with a golden spear point. Table top bases are available in black plastic to display from 1- 7 flags. Wood bases are available with either 10 holes or 12 holes to display additional flags.

The Jolly Roger is a general name given to pirate flags; a white skull over white crossed bones on a black field. The "Jolly Roger", common "Skull and Crossbones" that we know today is associated with British and British American pirates of the Atlantic and Carribbean in the 17th and early 18th centuries. The name "Jolly Roger" is possibly derived from the French "Joli Rouge" which means "pretty red" (cloth), a sarcastic reference. However the term "Old Roger" was also English slang for the Devil. The flag is now popularly used as a novelty flag with yacht and boat owners and marine or nautical themed businesses. 

Pirate flags were usually either red or black. Although black is most associated with pirate flags, the very first pirate flags were red. A red flag was often flown by pirates symbolizing "No Quarter Given" (No Mercy). The colors of red and black both held symbolic significance, blood and death. Other pirates attacked either under their own ruler's flag or under the flag of the prince issuing their privateering commission. By flying a national flag, pirates made a symbolic statement that the attack was legal under that country's laws. Some nations sponsored piracy and lived off pirate booty, including the Barbary states, the Knights of Malta, and 17th-century England. In law, corsairs operating from one of these havens had to fly its flag. This showed that the raiders recognized and paid taxes to the ruler's law courts. While they were hunting, many pirates either flew no flag or used one that would fool their intended victim. Their battle flag was raised only when they were close enough to attack.

Common variations on the flags included the following symbols in either red or white: the skull, crossed bones, skeleton, spear, swords or a cutlass, hourglass (indicating the time was up) and the initials of the pirate. 17th / 18th century variations, all on a black flag:

The Jolly Roger flag: black flag with a white skull over crossed white bones. Blackbeard is known to have flown the "deaths head".
The Jack Rackham flag: black flag with a white skull over crossed white sabres (possiby fictional)
A black flag with skeleton in red
White skull and crossbones on the hoist, and on the fly a naked man holding an hourglass in his left hand and a sabre in his right
In white, a naked man holding in his left hand an hourglass and in his right a spear, piercing a red heart
In white, a man holding a sword in his right hand, standing on two skulls, all above the initials "ABH AMH". Black field
A white arm holding a sabre in white
A white crossbones surmounted by a white skull over a white hourglass

Modern Naval Use

The Jolly Roger remains an active flag in a modern navy.

During WWII the British Royal Navy Submarine Service used the skull and crossbones as a distinguishing signal. The signal was defaced with small symbols added to it to indicate the number and type of kills, rescues or other operations that each submarine performed.

From the UK (royalnavy.mod.uk, Royal Navy, The Submarine Service):
The first submarine entered service in 1902. Regarded as a ‘un-gentlemanly’ way of warfare, it led to submariners being compared to pirates, which is the reason submarines returning from action today fly the Jolly Roger.

At left image, HMS Trump in South Australia, 1945 (source: navy.mil, Undersea Warfare Summer 2003 issue)

UK Royal Submarine Servie, 1945

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