General articles

The Union Jack is the combination of the Union Flag and the flagpole or mast from which it is flown. A sticker approximating to the design of the Union Flag is the symbol for the United Kingdom. As the Union Flag has a design such that there is a correct way up, the design on the stickers has been modified so that the sticker may be used either way up. NATO countries are required to mark all military vehicles with their national flag when operating in NATO commands of two or more countries.

The patriotism of military vehicle enthusiasts knows no bounds as often vehicles that should never have them sometimes sport more than one sticker at each end of the vehicle. I suppose this counters the enthusiasm for US wartime markings that have been know to adorn a FV432! The stickers from car accessory shops always spoil a vehicle, the colours are sometimes strange and they are far too small. The correct dimensions are required to be 150 mm x 75 mm, genuine stickers often turn up, but there are some good reproduction stickers readily available at shows. Over the years the size of the sticker has been reduced twice.

Officially, the sticker should be displayed in a prominent position only on the left side of the vehicle front and rear. Trailers are to only display the sticker on the rear, but they are not to be displayed on motorcycles.

The trouble with the placing the sticker at the rear of the Rover is that the left side usually accommodates the numberplate and its light fitting. There is a much bigger flat surface on the right, which is much more tempting! So often even service Rovers end up with the sticker placed incorrectly on the right side rear.

But remember not all UK vehicles would necessarily display the Union Flag, it is only if the vehicle is operating under a NATO command. So you shouldn't see a UDR Shorland marked with Union Flags.

Those of us with RAF vehicles have the option of even more stickers. Adhesive strips with blue RAF insignia on a golden yellow background are required on both sides of vehicles and trailers used on the public highway, or seen by the public e.g. at civil airports. They are not required where the vehicle is normally confined to RAF bases. But RAF roundels are required on all vehicles front and rear, and on the rear only of trailers. At the front of the vehicle the roundel should be on the right side, which balances nicely if there is a Union Flag sticker applied, which should be on the left side. However the roundel for the rear of the vehicle should be on the left side. This means that there is probably not enough room to accommodate the roundel, if a Union Flag sticker has been correctly placed above the number plate fittings. So sometimes the roundel is placed on the left side of the rear door, or it creeps over to the nice flat space on the right hand side.

So now you can make a nuisance of yourself at shows by pointing out to people that their vehicles have stickers that have been stuck in the wrong places. For this you will not get many thanks, and you may get told the sticker was in that position when the vehicle came out of service. This is quite likely, as it seems not all service personnel are familiar with the chapter on 'Vehicle Identification and Marking' in the 'Joint Service Road Transport Regulations (JSP 341)'.

Clive Elliott