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Roadshow..WII Flag & Wheel of the U.S.S. Spadefish


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Did anyone else catch this last night. What an outstanding gouping, I don't see submarine items very often and the Roadshow is not really known for showing the WWII militaria. Here is a link to some photos of the group.

 

U.S.S. SpadeFish

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I watched that: what do they call those flags?

 

post-214-1240322558.jpg

Once again the appraiser has no idea what he is talking about. Those flage were NOT issued post war to the crew. Each sub had one and flew it returning to port after a patrol. They would add marks to signify victories. A rising sun flag represented a Japanese Navy ship, and the red ball flag was for japanese merchant ships. The blue stars were for combat patrols and then there is a Presidential Unit Comendation pennant. At the end of the war, the flags were raffeled off. Usually by each crewman oand officer tossing a dog tag into a hat. It was then drawen and the winner got the flag.

 

I once saw one of these "appraisers" id an original 1832 artillery sword as a reproduction Mexican bull fighters sword worth about $20.

 

Steve Hesson

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vintageproductions

They are called "Kill Flags". There was usually one larger size flag that was the subs. At the end of the war, there were five or six made, slightly smaller(one for the CO, one for the XO, One for the Med off, and the last two for the chief enlisted men). Some subs crews after the war did indeed make flags for the crews, if they wanted to pay for one themselves. Some crews did, some didn't. These type flags will be sewn like this one shown, sometimes they were printed or flocked, this type is usually after the war. One good example of this is in the book about the WAHOO, they mention the skipper Morton sewing that's subs flag by hand.

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Once again the appraiser has no idea what he is talking about. Those flage were NOT issued post war to the crew. Each sub had one and flew it returning to port after a patrol. They would add marks to signify victories. A rising sun flag represented a Japanese Navy ship, and the red ball flag was for japanese merchant ships. The blue stars were for combat patrols and then there is a Presidential Unit Comendation pennant. At the end of the war, the flags were raffeled off. Usually by each crewman oand officer tossing a dog tag into a hat. It was then drawen and the winner got the flag.

 

I once saw one of these "appraisers" id an original 1832 artillery sword as a reproduction Mexican bull fighters sword worth about $20.

 

Steve Hesson

 

I don't ever put any stock in the appraisers or their value's, I just watch hoping to see stuff like this.

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I watched that: what do they call those flags?

 

 

 

 

 

Agree with the above.Flags are called Patrol or kill flags.

 

Steve,

Thats great info on the method of raffeling off the flag.I hadnt heard this before.

 

Bob,

Thanks for your info too.I didnt realize that some muliples were made for other crew members.I have seen a couple but not out here in the land locked plains.

 

RD

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These are actually called "House Flags". Most Navy ships have them. The "Kill Flags" were those small flags that were rigged on a span wire that ran from the bow over the conning tower to the stern.

 

I was a Signalman in the Navy, and made (or had Made) these flags on five of the six ships I served in.

 

The flags represent the ship to the crew. They often incorporate specific things that the ship has done, or is known for. Two of my ships had new house flags made as the older ones no longer held any significance to any one in the crew. So, new ones were made and the old ones were given to the CO.

 

Any way, these flage have a long tradition in the Navy.

 

Steve Hesson

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Another example. Here's one we sold in August 2008 from USS Queenfish (SS-393):

 

USS Queenfish was launched in July 1943. On her first war patrol, she sank three ships (15,000 tons). In a rescue attempt, Queenfish picked up 18 British and Australian survivors of a POW transport that had been sunk. On her second patrol, in October 1944, Queenfish sank two freighters, then a 9200-ton ferry. The boat earned a Presidential Unit Citation for her first two patrols. The Queenfish’s third patrol was not as successful, with credit for only one-third of a kill. Her fourth patrol netted the Queenfish great controversy (and a court-martial for her captain), as she sank a Japanese ship granted safe passage to carry supplies to Allied prisoners of war. Her fifth patrol brought no sinkings, as targets were not available, but the boat did rescue 13 downed fliers. The Queenfish continued in service after the war, being decommissioned in 1963 and sunk as a target by a nuclear submarine.

post-293-1240404196.jpg

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While it was nice to see some militaria shown that evening, I too was disappointed in the narrative that was provided - as little as I know about Navy or submarines, it didn't ring true at all.

 

Glad to get the straight story from USMF, again...

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Here's a link on the Forum of one we own.

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ind...t=0&start=0

Kill Flags. OK, I just never heard the term before. We had always refered to them as House Flags in the Navy. That's OK, My family has been career Navy since 1940, (two on active duty now), and none of us remember the term "Deck Jacket" either. We had always heard them refered to as "Foul Weather Jackets". Different thing I know, just sometimes terms change.

 

Steve Hesson

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Kill Flags. OK, I just never heard the term before. We had always refered to them as House Flags in the Navy. That's OK, My family has been career Navy since 1940, (two on active duty now), and none of us remember the term "Deck Jacket" either. We had always heard them refered to as "Foul Weather Jackets". Different thing I know, just sometimes terms change.

 

Steve Hesson

 

That sort of thing happens often: collectors often call a military dress uniform jacket a "tunic" which always bring howls of protests from vets who never heard them called that in the service. Or someone refers to a Marine Corps "cap" and gets blasted for not calling it a "cover" (and then someone else chimes in to note that the Marines did not call their utility cap a "cover" in WWII).

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Salvage Sailor
Kill Flags. OK, I just never heard the term before. We had always refered to them as House Flags in the Navy. That's OK, My family has been career Navy since 1940, (two on active duty now), and none of us remember the term "Deck Jacket" either. We had always heard them refered to as "Foul Weather Jackets". Different thing I know, just sometimes terms change.

 

Steve Hesson

 

Good points Steve, I've heard both terms used during my time, but my Dad & his shipmates always called them 'foul weather' coats or jackets. Different decades bring about different terminology for the same items.

 

Same goes for work jackets vs. utility jackets. We always called them work jackets.

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Good points Steve, I've heard both terms used during my time, but my Dad & his shipmates always called them 'foul weather' coats or jackets. Different decades bring about different terminology for the same items.

 

Same goes for work jackets vs. utility jackets. We always called them work jackets.

Oh yeah, Dungarees officially changed to "Utilities" in '75 with that horrid Zummwalt atrocity. I seldom heard anyone refer to them as Utilities once they got to the fleet and were stared at like they had some kind of rash for talking like some new "Boot Camp". Same for working jacket. No mater what it may have been officiallu called, it was a dungaree jacket to every one I knew. I still get a "Creepy Crawley" feeling every time I hear some one refer to the jumper uniform as "Cracker Jacks" or a White Hat as a "Dixi Cup". There was a joke I hears in Boot Camp from and old BM1. Marines will tell you that "only Sailors and old ladies where hats", and Sailors are to respond that "only Marines and Sh-t Cans wear covers".

 

Some times I get lost with collector terms for stuff. It may take me awhile, but I eventually catch on.

 

Steve Hesson

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  • 3 months later...
Did anyone else catch this last night. What an outstanding gouping, I don't see submarine items very often and the Roadshow is not really known for showing the WWII militaria. Here is a link to some photos of the group.

 

U.S.S. SpadeFish

 

 

This flag bears a strong resemblance to those being faked in California and sold on Ebay. I have seen at least ten, and for different subs. I can't get a good idea of the scale of the wheel either, but it looks too small for a fleetboat. I'm not saying the items are fake but I'd like to see them up close. Sometimes one of these fake flags will have been bought by a vet and then suddenly becomes "genuine WW2" on their passing, if you know what I'm saying.

 

Any flag of the felt/sewed-on variety is postwar. Someone on Ebay actually found a box of these flags(and parts) and auctioned them. They were for reunions and for at least twenty different subs.

 

Most printed flags are postwar as well, but it is possible a few printed ones were done during the War. Many postwar printed-types were made by Carlton.

 

I disagree with the poster who said they made one for the skipper, exc., etc. as some sort of protocol. While sometimes the case, the sub generally had one large one(only flown on arrival at base, like PH or Midway). Smaller "personal-sized ones" for the men were sometimes made, sometimes with the sailor's name. And some flags were made at Mare Id in the flag shop there.

 

Also, since many of the WW2 subs had postwar careers, flags were sometimes made for postwar crews as a keepsake. This of course leads to confusion about timeframe for some collectors.

 

Flags of Muslin-type or sectioned-cotton construction are sometimes period. But most of the time they are 1950s.

 

Many of the 1950s flags(said to be period) evidence outstanding construction on a machine and necessarily the question How? Possibly some were made on tenders, but...?

 

I will also say that genuine examples often differ greatly in terms off emblems from the flags often seen today. I'm not talking about sinkings, but insignia.

 

I have seen exactly one no-doubt-about-it large size fleetboat kill flag from WW2 in private hands. It was so large it had been cut down by a previous owner.

 

As for Spadefish I had a chance to buy her TBT binoculars but blew it.

 

I agree with the appraiser that, at best, the flag pictured from the roadshow is postwar.

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  • 1 month later...

My grandfather made 15 war patrols in WWII and had two "Battle flags".

 

One from the USS Spearfish. He said that when his boat went into the shipyard after the war that a flag was made for each crew member. It is now on display at the Submarine Museum in Groton, Ct.

 

The second was the USS Sea Dog, which he gave to me. They are both made the same except the Sea Dog does not have a hoist.

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  • 3 weeks later...
My grandfather made 15 war patrols in WWII and had two "Battle flags".

 

One from the USS Spearfish. He said that when his boat went into the shipyard after the war that a flag was made for each crew member. It is now on display at the Submarine Museum in Groton, Ct.

 

The second was the USS Sea Dog, which he gave to me. They are both made the same except the Sea Dog does not have a hoist.

I only put in 4 years on the old boats. Each boat had its one real "Battle Flag" from WW11, most of the time it hung framed in the after battery (crews mess). When the boat met its end and was decommed it was usually up to the C.O.B. as to what happened to Flag. He and the skipper got together and figured it out. The Battle Flags were from a earlier time and were a reminder of the WW11 Submariners that put it all on the line every time they went out. It was wonderful to serve on the boats and be reminded of our great heritage. There were many copies made after the war for the crews but you can see that that is what they are,copies. The real battle flags were hand done and not always of the same material or shapes.

 

Most of us that rode the old boats are in our 60's or more. Its sad to see some ones life on Ebay selling for a few bucks because no one in his family cares enough to hang onto his gear. Stretch

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