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Poland: jacks

Last modified: 2018-12-15 by rob raeside
Keywords: poland | jack | arm | cutlass |
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Jack 1993-

[Polish jack] image by Adam Kromer, from his website.

XVIII century jack

[Polish jack 18 century] image by Mario Fabretto

Image Information:

Country: Poland
Type of flag: War ensign (***/C**) or jack?
Date: late 17th c. - ?
Proportions: unknown
Sources: A. Znamierowsky "20th century polish flags" on The Flag Bulletin n. 154, 1993, A. Znamierowsky "Stworzony Do Chwaly" Warszawa 1995, "Tableau de Pavillons que la plupart des Nations arborent a la Mer" 1756.
Mario Fabretto, 1 August 1998

I'm attempting to describe the flags from the 1771 encyclopedia that I can't draw for various reasons. One of them is labelled Poland: Centered upon a red field an arm holding a cutlass.
Randy Young, 30 July 1998

This explains the Polish jack. According to Pedersen, 1971, the Polish jack is a 1:1 white-red horizontal with a cross patee red-white horizontal (red in white upper half, white on the red lower half) with a red circle centered with an arm and cutlass.
Michael Smuda, 30 July 1998

Many sources report this as a royal flag, but it should be a mistake repeated from one source to another. Most probably this was an ensign or even the jack of the Polish navy. Together this flag with the arm there were usually shown the red flag with the white eagle which is undoubtedly the royal flag (but with crowned eagle).
Mario Fabretto, 1 August 1998

Historical jack - other version

[Historical jack - other version] image by Adam Kromer, from his website

Jack 1919-39

[Polish Jack 1919-1939] image by Jaume Ollé, 30 Oct 2001

Jack adopted 1 August 1919 in use until 1939 (also in use by the Polish government in London after 1939, but not retained by communist government after 1944). From 1928 to 1938 was used also as fortress flag. Here are 3 images: the first one according Znamierowski and Flaggenbuch; the second one according to a photo. The third is according to an undated example available in a Polish museum.
Notice that upper arm in Flaggenbuch is blue (light) as the sword and has no decoration. I don't have colours from Znamierowski and I used model of wear arm close as pictured by Fabretto. (Ratio 5:6)
Jaume Ollé, 30 Oct 2001

Jack 1919-39 - variant #1

[Jack 1919-39 - variant #1] image by Jaume Ollé, 30 Oct 2001

Jack 1919-39 - variant #2

[Jack 1919-39 - variant #2] image by Jaume Ollé, 30 Oct 2001

Jack 1959-1993

[Polish Jack 1959-1993] image by Michael Smuda, 25 Feb 1999

The polish jack is white over red, with a cross pattee in the inverted colours of the fields, on which appears a "dextrochere", right hand with a sword. Proportions 1:1. (source: the flags pages of the Brockhaus Enzyklopaedie, dated 1968 but which still show many valid flags.)
Pascal Vagnat, 2 May 1996

This matches the image in Pedersen, 1971 English edition. I have done my drawing of the jack using Pedersen as a guide.
Michael Smuda, 25 Feb 1999

The Jack is the old one - the modern jack has the arm armoured (not a lot of use at sea!)
Graham Bartram, 10 Sep 1999

The ratio should be 6:5 not 1:1
Chris Southworth & Mariusz Borkowski 16 Nov 2010