The flag on the HMS back then would be a red ensign they went to all white ensigns after 1864 ....and before 1864 if it was a private ship under control of the navy or a admiral they used a long flag on top that was coirispoding with the colour of flag wheather it was a red white or blue engsign but the small long flag was never the union jack was the red cross of st george with white back ground..........heres a good site to see the info on it http://users.sisna.com/justinb/admflgs.html
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Not an error.
The Royal Navy of the period had three squadrons: the Red, the White and the Blue. These were notional formations not actually based on the organization of the fleet. What they did was divide the various grades of Admiral, running from Admiral of the Red, Admiral of the White etc through Vice-Admirals´ down to Rear Admiral of the White and Rear Admiral of the Blue. Over all these from the mid-18th century was the rank of Admiral of the Fleet.
Ships flew the red, white or blue ensign depending upon which squadron the Admiral commanding them belonged. The three squadrons were abolished in 1863 and from then on the white ensign was flown by all Royal Navy ships.
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