Convoy Marker Flags

When vehicles are driving in convoy it is very easy for a vehicle to become lost, with breakdowns, traffic or poor navigation resulting in one or more vehicles becoming detached form the main convoy. This is enough of a problem in friendly country, but can become deadly near the front lines. To help maintain convoys, military police on motorcycles are often used to help shepherd the lorries of a convoy. These outriders need some way of identifying the front and back of a group of vehicles and simple coloured flags are used, with colours indicating the convoy leader and the final vehicle- if both are seen by the man controlling traffic he can be sure that the whole convoy has passed safely. During World War II, the British Army used a blue flag to indicate the lead vehicle and a green one for the rear.

Other colours were added over time to indicate different roles and today we are looking at a pair of post war flags in green and yellow:

Each flag has a channel down one side for the pole or a radio aerial to be threaded in, and a pair of tapes to tie it on securely:

The yellow flag is made of thin cotton and printed up with a store’s number and a date of 1958:

The yellow flag seems to be used when there are more than one part to a convoy of vehicles, with the lead vehicle of the entire convoy displaying a green flag, but also red flags at the front and rear of the section. Yellow flags are then used at the front and rear of the second section etc. The final vehicle in the entire convoy flying the green.

The green flag is made of a coarser fabric and dates to the 1970s (although the markings are much harder to read on the darker fabric):

One comment

  1. In BAOR 1970s and 1980s the yellow flag indicated a halted and ‘broken down’ vehicle in need of REME assistance. Red flags were used on vehicles carrying bulk ammunition or fuel.

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