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Sovereign Military Order of Malta - Flag of Grandmaster Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim

Grandmaster Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim (1797-1798)

Last modified: 2015-01-24 by rob raeside
Keywords: sovereign and military order of malta | ferdinand von hompesch zu bolheim | von hompesch zu bolheim | grandmaster |
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image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 22 October 2008

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Description of flag

Flag of Grandmaster Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim (1797-1798)
It is a quarterly divided square flag. Surprisingly the 2nd and 3rd quarter are showing the white Greek cross in a red field of the Order of St. John while the 1st and 4th quarter are showing the personal arms of the grandmaster. A red field is divided by a silver (= white) saltire. Other sources of the coat of arms are showing the saltire limited by engrailed lines. Note that there are two images in source, both showing the same pattern with the cross in the 2nd and 3rd quarter and the flag hoisted upon the stern.
Source: Capt. Joseph M. WISMAYER: “The fleet of the order of St.John 1530-1798”, Midsea Books, Valetta(?) 1997; ISBN 99909-75-30-2; chart no.5
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 22 October 2008

According to
"Grand Master Ferdinand de Hompesch, a German, was weak and irresolute. He was not the right person to face the oncoming storm. In 1797 all Europe, with the exception of England, was at Napoleon's feet. However, the Emperor's eyes were set on the East and Egypt was to be his base of operations. For this he needed naval supremacy in the Mediterranean. The capture of Malta was essential to Napoleon and once again the island became a coveted fortress. The Maltese were prepared to resist the French but both munitions and provision were denied to them by order of the Grand Master. On June 11, 1798 Hompesch capitulated. A few days later, the Grand Master and what was left of the once proud and powerful Order, left their impregnable fortress of Malta and sailed away."

Further data on Hompesch, his rule and the last days of the Order in Malta here:
Santiago Dotor, 16 March 2006