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The Formby Union flag has been vandalised and flying upside down in the Memorial Garden in Formby


The Formby Union flag has been vandalised and was flying upside down in the Memorial Garden in Formby village.


A few eagle eyed residents told Formby Bubble that the flag was flying upside down and after seeing it for ourselves, they were absolutely right!


Formby Bubble reported it to Cllr Maria Bennett of Formby Parish Council who acted immediately and the person responsible for the flag, Bernie Prescot went straight down to investigate only to find it had been vandalised with the box smashed, the ropes cut and the flag raised upside down! Bernie rectified the flag straight away.


Cllr Bernie Prescot told Formby Bubble: “After Formby Bubble reported the Union Flag in the Memorial Garden flying upside down to the Parish Council this morning, Saturday 12th February, I immediately went to the village and could see that it was indeed upside down. When I went to the Flagstaff I could see that the locking door which prevents access to the halyard had been broken off. I lowered the flag and found that the hoist line, a rope tail on the flag, had been cut off and the flag reattached, this time the wrong way up. I raised the flag correctly but we now need to source a new locking system to restrict access.”


“We hold two ceremonial flags, one for the Memorial Garden and one for the Library. These are quite expensive and are kept for special occasions such as the Queens’ Birthday, Armistice Day etc. For most of the year and especially in Winter, we use a much cheaper and hard wearing substitute. The cheaper flags were flown from the end of the Armistice day services. They therefore have been flown since Sunday 14th November 2021. Shortly after, someone phoned the Parish Council to report that the flag was upside down. I checked it immediately and all was OK. Today was the first report I have received since then.”


“As I have already said. the door lock was broken off and the hoist line cut off. I cannot understand why anyone would go to such lengths. During my years with HM Coastguard we had several flags stolen. Occasionally they could bee seen on the Kop but no-one ever vandalised the flags and rehoisted them upside down.”


“Why would anyone go to such lengths? Is someone trying to make a point?”


“Flying an ensign upside down is an indication of distress and an appeal for assistance where an immediate threat to life exists. This convention is mainly restricted to the USA and the UK. In most cases a country’s flag flown upside down would look exactly the same or would become the flag of another country altogether.”


“Interestingly the Union Flag is a land flag and not flown at sea. Instead the appropriate defaced ensign is flown.”


Cllr Bob McCann from Formby Parish Council said: “I've spoken to the Councillor who raises the flag and he advises that the flagpole has been vandalised. The lock has been taken off, and the ropes cut. So it now looks like a deliberate act, which makes me feel a bit better because I was concerned that our flag people didn't know the right way up! It will now cost the Parish Council money to have it fixed up and made secure again, which we will do in due course.”


Thanks to Formby Parish Council and in particular Bernie Prescott for acting quickly and sorting it out. We can confirm that the flag is now flying the correct way.

 

Please don't fly the Union flag the wrong way up!


The broader (wider) diagonal white stripe should be at the top on the side of the flag nearest the flagpole.


The UK flag is NOT entirely symmetrical! You can rotate the flag and it still will be the right way up but you can't invert it (not refective symmetry).


Look at the white diagonals and you will see why.

On the side next to the flagpole, (the hoist side), the thick white band is above the red band on both diagonals, the white band being part of the cross of St Andrew, the Scottish flag and the red band being part of the cross of St Patrick, the Irish flag.

The cross of St Andrew is above that of St Patrick at the hoist because the cross was added to the flag before St Patrick's cross, therefore the cross of St Andrew is entitled to the higher position.

On the side that flutters free, the fly side, this is reversed, with the Irish flag being above the Scottish flag.

This flag is upside down because the narrow white bands are on top.


To deliberately fly the flag upside down is a signal indicating a situation of 'DISTRESS'. It is also "lese Majeste" (which means: insulting the Crown), and is theoretically still a crime in the UK and its commonwealth.


Information provided by Project Britain




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