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General Post Office, United Kingdom

Last modified: 2019-06-04 by rob raeside
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[General Post Office Ensign] image by Miles Li
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A Blue Ensign defaced by an hour glass in the hand of Old Father Time, being shattered by an electrical discharge, was granted to the cable-laying ships of the General Post Office in the 19th century. In his presentation on Mail Flags to the 15th ICV, Zurich, 1993, Emil Dreyer gave a date of 26 April 1884 (the same date as the introduction of the Royal Mail pennant) quoting William Crampton's Flag Institute Dictionary of Terminology and Technology in FlagFax Supplement (Series E, No.3) in Flagmaster 066/67.
1969. The General Post Office, a government department became a government owned public corporation and was separated into two divisions, Posts and Telecoms. The cable ships went to Telecoms.
1981. Telecoms was privatised as British Telecoms.
1994. The cable ships were sold to Cable & Wireless.
1999. The marine division of Cable & Wireless was sold to Global Crossing Inc and became part of Global Marine Systems Ltd. cable ships. Only those ships that were originally owned by British Telecoms, CS's Sovereign, Iris and Monarch, are permitted to wear the defaced Blue Ensign. All other British registered GMS ships wear the Red Ensign.

David Prothero, 24 September 2004