The following is from the Handbook of Signalling, 1913, produced by the British Admiralty
(Chapter 3, page 14).
When to be Employed.
1. Flag Waving may be employed for passing coded and cypher messages from Flag to W/T Guardships and vice versa; it may also be used for communicating with the Army and for private messages between ships.
2. When it is used for private messages between ships, the method laid down for communicating with the Army is to be followed as far as it can be applied. Ships are to be called up by their Distinguishing Pendants being made; Distinguishing Flags should only be hoisted to attract attention if the ship called delays in answering, and they are to be hauled down immediately she answers.
3. Private messages are never to be allowed to interfere with Service Signals.
Explanation of System.
1. "Dots" are made by waving a flag through small arcs, "dashes" by waving it through large arcs.
2. The flags are of two sizes:
3 ft square with a staff 5 ft 6 in long,
2 ft square with a staff 3 ft 6 in long
and of two colours-
white with a blue horizontal stripe, for use with a dark background,
dark blue, for use with a light background.
Position of the Signalman.
1. The Signalman should stand square (either facing or with his back turned) to the Station to which he is signalling, according to convenience and the direction of the wind.
2. The staff should be kept as upright as possible while in motion, the point never being allowed to droop to the front or rear.
3. The flag is to be held high enough for the Signalman to see below it when it is in motion.
How to Signal.
1. To make a "dot": the flag is waved from (a) to (b), and without any pause back again to the normal position.
2. To make a "dash": the flag is waved from (a) to (c), and after a slight pause at (c), brought back to the normal position.
3. To signal a letter: the elements representing it should be made in one continuous wave of
the flag, taking care that no pause is made when at the normal position.
Example: to make 'R' (. - .), wave the flag from (a) to (b), back to (a), and without any pause
down to (c), making there a slight pause, back to (a), then without any pause to (b),
and back to the normal position (a).
4. A pause, equal to the time taken to make a "dash", should be made at the normal position (a) between each letter of a word, or symbol in a group.
5. When a word or group is completed, the staff should be brought down diagonally in front of the body, and the flag gathered in with the left hand.
6. A slight pause (equal to the time occupied in making two dashes) should be made at the normal position before commencing another word or group.
7. In receiving a message, the flag should be kept down diagonally in front of the body, and gathered in until required for answering.
8. In order to keep the flag always exposed while in motion, the point of the staff should be made to describe an elongated figure of 8.
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