Air-Sea Rescue Launch pennant : Royal Air Force

Unit Royal Air Force
Place Europe: United Kingdom
Accession Number REL31576
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Flag
Physical description Cotton, Cotton drill, Steel
Location Anzac Hall: Main Hall: Bomber Com
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c. 1939-1945
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Triangular cotton pennant as flown by Royal Air Force Air-Sea Rescue Launches during the Second World War. The light blue pennant features a printed dark blue vertical stripe with narrow red borders. Superimposed upon the stripe are four rows of light blue waves and a red and yellow life ring. Above the ring is a yellow RAF eagle with outstretched wings. The hoist is of heavy white cotton drill, and has a sewn-in cord halyard with steel fittings.

History / Summary

The Royal Air Force Air-Sea Rescue service was established in 1941 to attempt to reduce the high losses suffered among aircrew who were forced to land in the ocean for any reason. A number of RAF squadrons were raised, equipped with aircraft such as the Supermarine Walrus, the Avro Anson and the Westland Lysander. These units were augmented by waterborne rescue craft, primarily the purpose-built RAF 'High Speed Launches' (HSLs) and Fairmile launches loaned by the Royal Navy. All vessels flew the ASR pennant, and their crews were supplied with RAF uniforms and equipment. The ASR service eventually expanded to cover all of the main regions of conflict. The organisation was wound down at the end of the Second World War, and was officially absorbed into the new 'RAF Marine Branch' in 1948.