The Empire to Commonwealth Project

Colonial Ensigns: I


The Blue Ensign with the Star of India was the ensign of the Royal Indian Marine and then became the jack when the RIM became the Royal Indian Navy. 


 In the 1930’s the Star of India on a Red Ensign was used, outside India, as a semi-official land flag to represent India.


Strictly speaking India should not be in this section as it was never a colony. 

The India Office was quite separate from the Colonial Office.

The Indian flag that was the equivalent of the colonial Blue Ensigns was the Local Indian Maritime Government ensign; a Blue Ensign with the crest of the East India Company in the fly; a yellow lion rampant guardant holding a crown. 


1884 - 1904

After 1904

Commonly called ‘the monkey and the coconut’.




An unofficial flag.  This flag was queried when the 1889 Admiralty Flag Book was being compiled, and omitted when the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland’s office wrote that it was not a proper flag for Ireland, and that the correct flag for Ireland was the Union Flag.


Never a colony but part of the United Kingdom and administered by the Home Office until 1921 when 'Southern Ireland' became a member of the British Commonwealth as the Irish Free State (Saorstát Éireann).  The present Irish flag was adopted in 1929.  Irish Free State became Eire in 1937 and left the Commonwealth in 1949.



British Indian Ocean Territory 

Ionian Islands 


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The Empire to Commonwealth Project would like to thank David Prothero for his valuable help and assistance in ensuring accurate information is provided to our Members about the Colonial flags below.  All the notes below have been kindly supplied by David Prothero.

Thanks also to James Alcock for his assistance in sections of the Colonial Ensigns.

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