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48 Star Flag Question


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Hello all,

 

Is there a difference between the so called 5' x 9.5' "storm flag" and the "interment flag" with the same dimensions, or are they one in the same?  I have one from the PA QM Depot with the heavy metal loops riveted to each end of the hoist.

 

Thanks,

Tom

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Sorry to sound thick-headed, but two different flag types used interchangeably or the same flag used for both purposes?  

 

Thanks!

Tom

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dhcoleterracina

The 5 by 9.5 marked flags are internment flags. A Navy #7 is often used for burials at sea and are also dual purpose flags. A question that I have never had a good response about are the heavy iron rings like you describe. What was the purpose of such heavy rings? Often/always riveted. They are used as internment flags too but what again is their purpose? 

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Thanks for the response and that's what I hope to learn as well.  I understand (perhaps incorrectly) that the 5x9.5 flags with the heavy loops riveted into place are "storm flags", which were to be used in inclement weather.  What I don't know is if there was another flag with the same dimensions that was specific for interment use (and used interchangeably).

 

Tom

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Mr. J,

 

That would be great if you come up with a definitive answer from the regs; this has puzzled me for some time now.

 

Thanks,

Tom

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dhcoleterracina

Me too, I'm sure there is a reg out there, I just haven't found it. 

 

There is a macabre video out there showing the process of disinterment from a French cemetery in preparation for returning the soldier home. Hard to watch but in the end you see flag draped caskets lined up. You can clearly see that the flags were those with the heavy riveted rings on all caskets. I also have a 45 or 46 star flag with the heavy rings so they have been in use for a long time. 

 

During a previous discussion it was suggested that these were used for burial at sea. The heavy ring would be easy to hang onto when the body is dropped. Interesting theory but I'd like to see real documentation. 

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I poked around a bit on Google and haven't come up with a WW2 era reg that specifically deals with flag types, not even in the QMC graves regs.  There are several references to modern Army regs, however (and interesting to read as well).  The closest title I have come up with is:

 

Service Flag:  Design and General Rules for Use, Cir 62-1945.

 

I can't locate the actual document, so can't say if this will help at all.  As far as Navy burials at sea, would they use flags that came out of an Army QMC depot?

 

Tom

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dhcoleterracina

No, you are correct, I don't think that they would use Army QMC flags for burials at sea. My point was that there is a great deal of well intentioned theories but no backing documentation. I'm sure it's out there but I haven't seen it yet.

 

Another sad fact was the need for thousands of internment flags. At some point in WW2, they went outside to private flag makers for these flags. There are internment flags from many different companies that made nice flags with sewn stripes and stars but not these heavy rings that must have taken longer to make. A sad reality meets the need for each family to be presented with a flag by the government. 

 

In yet another thread on this subject, the heavy ring flags are called "storm flags". Seems logical and makes sense except again it is some flag expert opinion with no documentation. The search goes on. 

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The type of heavy riveted rings you picture are pretty common on various military flags. I have quite a few different  DOD and Army positional field flags from the 50’s and 60’s made by PQMD with identical rings and rivets. The rivets are copper. I also have a couple of old USMC flags/pennants with the same style riveted rings including a church pennant and a QM pennant. 

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dhcoleterracina

I had seen this thread before and for me it just repeats what seems logical about the heavy rings. It also may be 100% accurate but this is the army we're talking about, surely there is some obscure reg. out there to confirm the information. That's what I really want to see. In that thread the documentation comes from the Zaricor Flag Collection or Museum. They have a similar flag in their collection and the info is in the description. They also have a simple two grommet internment flag that they also call "storm flag". I know the information is out there. 

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Blacksmith,

 

Thanks for linking these threads. 

 

I'm still looking around to see if I can find something definitive in the regs, QM catalogues, etc, that gives a specific name and/or purpose to these flag(s). 

 

The one I have is typical of the ones shown in the other thread.

 

Tom

 

20201217_130845.jpg

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4 hours ago, T Ambrosini said:

Blacksmith,

 

Thanks for linking these threads. 

 

I'm still looking around to see if I can find something definitive in the regs, QM catalogues, etc, that gives a specific name and/or purpose to these flag(s). 

 

The one I have is typical of the ones shown in the other thread.

 

Tom

 

20201217_130845.jpg

You are welcome Tom.  :)

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  • 1 month later...

Here is a description of the history of these flags. 

 

48-Star US Flag from the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot.
This large flag is a storm flag used on army posts during inclement weather. It is readily identifiable as a US government flag by the special size (5' X 9.5') and the distinctive hoist marking, "PHILA.QM.DEPOT" as well as the heavy, riveted, military style staples used on the upper and lower heading on the hoist edge.

This flag was made by the Philadelphia Quartermaster of the US Army in the late 1940s or early 1950s. It was used in the Korean War as an installation flag for use during bad weather.

The Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot was the designation used between 1926 and 1965 for the federal government's facility on the banks of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. It made a huge portion of the flags used by the United States Army during WWII and the Korean Conflict.

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Just now, P-59A said:

Here is a description of the history of these flags. 

 

48-Star US Flag from the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot.
This large flag is a storm flag used on army posts during inclement weather. It is readily identifiable as a US government flag by the special size (5' X 9.5') and the distinctive hoist marking, "PHILA.QM.DEPOT" as well as the heavy, riveted, military style staples used on the upper and lower heading on the hoist edge.

This flag was made by the Philadelphia Quartermaster of the US Army in the late 1940s or early 1950s. It was used in the Korean War as an installation flag for use during bad weather.

The Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot was the designation used between 1926 and 1965 for the federal government's facility on the banks of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. It made a huge portion of the flags used by the United States Army during WWII and the Korean Conflict.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             These flags were used as burial flags when a proper flag could not be found. If you try to tri fold this flag you will find you can not do to the rings. This is awkward and not something you would present at a family burial, but for a battle field burial this was done.

 

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The flag that draped by Uncle when he returned from Iwo Jima in 1948 was one of these with the large grommets, so they were used for stateside burials after the war.  I remember climbing onto the roof of our house to attach them to hooks on Memorial Day.  

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dhcoleterracina

I recently bought a book called " Under the Flag   A History of the Stars and Stripes" It was printed in 1914.  This is a civilian written history of our flag but he touches on some military aspects of the flag. 

 

In chapter 4 he talks about "Army and Navy Flags". 

 

"They are of the following three sizes: The Garrison Flag measuring 38 feet fly and 20 feet hoist, is furnished only to posts designated in orders from time to time from the War Department, and is hoisted only on holidays and important occasions; the post flag, measuring 19 feet fly and 10 feet hoist, , is furnished to all garrisoned posts and hoisted in pleasant weather; the storm flag, measuring 9 feet, 6 inches fly and 5 feet hoist, is furnished to all occupied posts for use in stormy and windy weather. It is also furnished to national cemeteries and recruiting stations. " 

 

This excerpt is the first time I've seen the connection between these heavy ringed "storm flags" and use at National Cemeteries. Again this is a book written by a civilian but he writes with such specificity as to suggest he is referring to military regulations though, sadly, there is no bibliography or military reference. I still believe there is an old military document detailing these flags. 

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The information from 1914 has some limited bearing on this flag. That flag had different grommets and there would have been no problems using that flag as a presentation burial flag.  The size of the storm flag had changed and along with the grommets by the time the Philly factory started making this flag in 1926.  Yes both flags were used, but only if a regular burial flag was not available. The flag in question was made to be used as a storm flag first and a burial flag if needed.

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I wasn't their, but it is custom to cover the fallen from the time of removal  to reburial. I suspect the flag that accompanied your Uncle was with him on his journey from Iwo Jima. That flag was what they had on hand and it stayed with him. I have one of these flags and spent allot of time looking into them. I have seen many photo's of these flags still in the box after being sent to NOK after burial of there loved ones over seas. The problem with this flag is you can not make the tri fold for presentation because it was never made to be the primary burial flag. It was used when that flag was not available.

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dhcoleterracina

I'm really not sure what you are saying. What do you mean by "that flag had different grommets"? and "the size of the storm flag had changed"?  Can you source your information? 

 

What might be better is to post examples of flags that we are talking about since this thread started with a question and not a photo of a flag. I'll try and post some of my examples later. 

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T Ambrosini
1 hour ago, dhcoleterracina said:

I'm really not sure what you are saying. What do you mean by "that flag had different grommets"? and "the size of the storm flag had changed"?  Can you source your information? 

 

What might be better is to post examples of flags that we are talking about since this thread started with a question and not a photo of a flag. I'll try and post some of my examples later. 

Follow the link in post #12 for several examples of the flag in question.  A photo of my flag is shown in in post #14 (grommets cut off the edge of the image).

 

Tom

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dhcoleterracina

A few flags,,,first is a storm flag of 46 stars (1908-1912) Made by the civilian flag company Horstmann. 

 

IMG_1339.JPG

IMG_1340.JPG

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