This is a plea for advice, I think. Please? I’m getting my first ECW units of foot prepared for painting, and I’ve come a bit unstuck over the flags. I’m using 20mm figures, mostly Les Higgins, but since Higgins never did a standard bearer I’m looking at a choice of Hinton Hunt (don’t care for the cast flags, so would have to mod them and equip with wire poles), SHQ (a bit chunky) and Tumbling Dice (also a tad chunky). The immediate problem is not the Chunk Rating, it’s the length of the flag poles. I have a good number of reference books on this stuff now – it is clear that the flags were about 6½ feet square, and the older books show them mounted on big long poles – even some contemporary illustrations from the National Army Museum, reproduced in Philip Haythornthwaite’s lovely The English Civil War 1642-1651 – an illustrated military history, show a pole about twice the height of the flag. More recent works insist that the flags were mounted on a short pole, 7½ to 8 feet in length, they were normally carried in one hand, and that skilled exponents could perform some very flash displays with them.
Fine big pole, but the flags were square, and about 3 times that size
That flag is a bit small, too, but it is mounted on a truncheon,
in the style which is currently regarded as correct
That looks more likely - correct sized flag on a shortish pole
would be a devil to carry
The flags were made of taffeta, or a light silken material, and were painted.
Stop right there. I don’t like it. I have no practical experience of this subject, of course, though I’ve seen what they do with flags at the parades associated with the Palio in
I’m hoping that some knowledgeable veteran of the Sealed Knot, or anyone with
some factual knowledge or experience of re-enactment can cast some light here.
This is my problem: the proposal is that a flag about the size of the cover from a king-size duvet, albeit made of taffeta, can be mounted on a short pole, and the appointed officer can carry this in one hand in a dignified manner appropriate to military decorum, on the march, in a stiff breeze, on the battlefield – nay – he can even do some genteel tricks with it, with or without passing cannonballs.
Well, I’m sorry - I don’t believe it. I think I would have to see this with my own eyes. I would certainly not like to attempt it – not for more than a few minutes, and I would certainly not like to upset anyone who was physically capable of such a feat. If they really did have short, one-handed poles then either they held them with two hands, with the flag partly rolled around the staff, or else the short staff somehow socketed into a longer carrying pole. However it was done, any kind of ceremonial carrying of the taffeta duvet cover would have to be done with two hands, surely?
All help would be most welcome. Haythornthwaite also includes a colour plate of an ensign carrying a flag which is described as having a 9½ foot pole, which is somewhere in the middle, and that seems to correspond to the kind of flagpole carried by the Hinton Hunt figure – I defy anyone to suggest that Marcus Hinton made an error...