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Blue Ensign

When the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) was established in 1910, there was some dispute as to what ensign and jack Canadian warships should fly. Eventually it was decided that the White Ensign of the British Royal Navy (RN) would be the Canadian naval ensign, and that the Canadian Blue Ensign (already in use as the government ensign) would be the Canadian naval jack. This arrangement, however, was not entirely satisfactory. Since the jack was not flown underway, RCN ships at sea could not be distinguished from those of the RN. During World War I, therefore, Canadian warships began to display a green maple leaf on either side of the forward funnel. This informal insignia was later made official.

Three different versions of the Canadian Blue Ensign were used as jacks by the RCN between 1910 and 1965. From 1910 to 1922 the badge in the fly was a quarterly arrangement of the arms of Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and New Brunswick. This badge was not technically a coat of arms, having been created to serve as the great seal of Canada shortly after the British North America Act of 1867 established the Confederation. In 1922 the badge was changed to the shield of the new Canadian arms, and in 1957 the maple leaves at the base of the shield were changed from green to red.

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