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Portsmouth Yacht Club (United Kingdom)

Last modified: 2014-07-19 by rob raeside
Keywords: portsmouth yacht club | blue ensign | crescent and star |
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[Portsmouth Yacht Club] image by Martin Grieve, 22 August 2006

See also:

Flag of Portsmouth Yacht Club

1936-1939 special ensign

The English Admiralty's first badge, a crescent and star, was taken from the Arms of the Royal Borough of Portsmouth, the site of the principal dockyard on the south coast. King Richard the First had adopted the emblem from the standard of the Byzantine Governor of Cyprus after taking the island during the Third Crusade, and had granted it to Portsmouth as Arms in 1194. The Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople in 1453 and adopted the Byzantine crescent and star as an emblem of the Turkish Empire. Thus the crescent and star lost its Christian associations, and although it is still the Arms of Portsmouth, it was abandoned by the Admiralty in the course of the 16th century. A Harleian manuscript of 1534 notes that "The Badge of the Admyralte ys a cresante with burning fyre", but later in the 16th century Admiralty Courts were using an anchor as their mark on detained goods. An anchor was the emblem of St Nicholas, patron of sailors, and in Christian symbolism a sign of security and hope.
An example of the crescent and star badge can be seen on the special ensign of the Portsmouth Yacht Club, 1937 to 1939.
David Prothero, 22 August 2006