House flag, George Thompson & Co. Ltd (AAA0388)

Object name: House flag
We have 252 objects of this type online
House flag (AAA0388) Repro ID: F2793
F2793, House flag, George Thompson & Co. Ltd
© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
About our images
Artist/maker: unknown
Date made: circa 1935
Place made:
Materials: wool; linen; machine sewn
Measurements:  Flag: 889 x 1219.2 mm
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Pope Collection. Reproduced with kind permission of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company.
Collection: Flags

The house flag of George Thompson and Co. Ltd, London. A rectangular flag divided into red over blue with a six pointed white star in the centre. The flag is made of a wool bunting. It has a linen hoist and is machine sewn. A rope and toggle are attached.

The Aberdeen Line was established in 1825 by George Thompson of Aberdeen with a single vessel sailing between Scotland and Canada. She carried passengers to Canada and returned with timber. By the late 1830s, the Aberdeen line was operating 12 ships, trading to places such as South America, the Mediterranean, and the South Pacific. In 1842 the company began regular sailings from London to Australia, and by 1882 these were replaced with steamship services. The Aberdeen Line’s famous sailing ship the ‘Thermopylae’ was launched in 1868, and was constructed using the ‘Aberdeen Bow’, a new bow designed to increase the speed and seaworthiness of a vessel. The ship subsequently set many new records for speed in its voyages to and from Australia and the Far East, though it was soon replaced by faster steamships shortly afterwards.

In 1905 the company came under the joint control of the White Star Line and Shaw, Savill, and Albion. In 1933 the Aberdeen and Commonwealth Line was formed after further financial collapse of the White Star Line. In 1936, Furness Withy and Co took over the line and by 1938 the Aberdeen and Commonwealth name had disappeared. During World War Two, however, one former Aberdeen and Commonwealth Line ship made military history. The ‘Jervis Bay’, built in 1922 and transferred in 1933 to the Aberdeen and Commonwealth Line, was converted into an Armed Merchant Cruiser during World War II. As the ‘Jervis Bay’ was escorting a convoy of merchant ships in the Atlantic Ocean, it was attacked by the German Heavy Cruiser ‘Admiral Scheer’. The captain of the British vessel, E.S. Fogarty-Fegan, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery in an action with the Germans that enabled many ships in the convoy to escape. In 1957 the last of the Aberdeen and Commonwealth ships were scrapped and the company dissolved.

Related terms

House flag From the 19th century onwards, merchant ships would fly the house flag of the owner and also a pennant with the name of the vessel. More…