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Royal Thai Army (Thailand)

Last modified: 2007-11-10 by eugene ipavec
Keywords: thailand | army | military | coat of arms | elephant | chakra | cak | crown: thai | trairanga | stripes: 5 | circle (blue) | text: thai |
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[Army Flag (Thailand)] 2:3
Royal Thai Army Flag
image by Suttipong Phuensaen, 19 Apr 2007

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Army Flag 1892-1908

[Army Flag 1892-1908 (Thailand)]
image by Eugene Ipavec

From the Singha Beer source:

The Military Flag B.E.2435 [1892 AD]
This is a square red flag with the national coat of arms in the middle. [No apparent difference from the Chuthathutthippatai except for the lack of fringe.] King Rama V had the flag made in B.E.2435, and ordered it to be presented before the trops [sic], including then Royal Household Cavalry, the outer artillery, the King's Bodyguard from the Infantry, the King's bodyguard from the Royal Household Infantry, the Royal oarsmen belonging to Infantry. It remained in use up until B.E.2451 [1908 AD].

Santiago Dotor, 29 Oct 1999

Army Flag 1911

[Army Flag 1911 (Thailand)]
image by Jaume Ollé, Miles Li and Eugene Ipavec

From the Singha Beer source:

The Military Flag B.E.2454 [1911 AD]
This is a square red flag, in the middle of which stands a fully caparisoned white elephant standing on a raised dais, facing in the direction of the flagpole. In the top left-hand corner is the Royal Insignia in blue – on which are inscribed the initials "Wor-Por-Ror". Above the seal stands the Royal Crown with rays of shining light radiating from its tip.

In B.E.2454, King Rama VI ordered the original military flag, which was red, to be replaced with one showing a fully caparisoned white elephant on a platform, together with the Royal seal carrying the initials Jor-Por-Rou- [sic] under the crown of King Rama V. He then had it paraded before various military units in a trooping-of-the-colour ceremony to commemorate his coronation. The flag is believed to have remained in use right up until the end of his reign.

Santiago Dotor, 29 Oct 1999

Unit Colours 1979-


[Army Flag (Thailand)] 2:3
image by Miles Li and Eugene Ipavec

Here is the Royal Thai Army flag as it would appear today.

Miles Li, 20 Sep Sep 2006

I take it this means the [former] Royal Thai Army flag, with the large device resembling a Star of India, has been replaced by the new design with the crown, wreath and chakra. Any idea when?

Eugene Ipavec, 20 Sep Sep 2006

The modern Thai Army flag should have the chakri pointing anti-clockwise. This army flag replaces the "Star" flag, so that all three services now have flags bearing emblems similar to their respective cap badges. As for when the change took place, I am not sure.

Miles Li, 21 Sep Sep 2006

Unit Colours 1962-1979


[Divisional Colours (Thailand)]
image by Calvin Paige Herring, Miles Li and Eugene Ipavec

The Army's flag is well-known, dating to before World War II. The flag of the Thai Army is the national flag defaced by the army badge. Sources: Flaggenbuch 1939; Smith 1979; Barraclough and Crampton 1981.

Calvin Paige Herring, 31 May 1998

There is a Thai phrase on the discus (Cak). It reads "Salacheep Phuechart" ("Sacrificing Lives for the Nation") – the former motto of the Royal Thai Army.

Wisarut Bholsithi, 29 Oct 1999

From the Singha Beer source:

The Flags of the Military Divisions B.E. 2505 [1962 AD]
This is a tricolor flag with a crown in the top left-hand corner, the identity of the King conveyed by the appropriate ordinal number in yellow. Beneath the crown, from which blue rays of light radiate, are his Majesty's initials – in red outlined in yellow. The outer edges of the flag are trimmed in yellow braid, 2 cms wide.

An announcement by the Ministry of Defense, dated December 22, B.E. 2505, issued in line with the Royal Decree of B.E.2479 [1936 AD] concerning flags, specified the materials to be used to embroider the patterns on the flags of the various military units.

The military flag currently in use – the ChaiChalermpol Flag – follows the pattern specified in a special Royal Decree of B.E.2522 [1979 AD] concerning flags.

Santiago Dotor, 29 Oct 1999

Unit Colours – World War One


[WWI Army Flag (Thailand), obverse]
[WWI Army Flag (Thailand), reverse]
images by Eugene Ipavec

From the Singha Beer source:

Flag used in World War I
This was a rectangular tricolor, similar to the "Trairanga". In the middle of the back of the flag are the royal initials – Ror-Ror – and the number VI under a Royal Crown, with light radiating from its tip, framed by a red circle. On the top and bottom red strips there are words denoting the Blessing of the Lord Buddha, Chaimongkol. On the front, in the middle, framed by a red circle, is s white elephant in full caparison, standing on a raised dais. On the top and bottom red stripes are words invoking the Blessing of the Lord Buddha similar to those on the front. [Reverse like the Naval Ensign, with Thai inscriptions on the top and bottom stripes.]

King Rama VI ordered the Chaichalermpol flag to be made and conveyed to the Thai troops who had joined the Allied forces in Europe during World War I (B.E.2460) [1917 AD]. As an additional touch he had ordered the Buddha Chaiya Mongkol Katha to be added to the red stripes at the top and bottom to offer a blessing the troops. The enemy was likened to the ungodly who invaded but would eventually be defeated by the forces of righteousness.

Santiago Dotor, 29 Oct 1999

The Chuthathut Thippatai Flag

image by Eugene Ipavec

From the Singha Beer source:

This is a red flag, with white blades of Chakra bordering ["fringing"?] on three sides, carried ["carrying"] the national coat of arms in the center. [No apparent difference from the Army Flag 1892-1908 except for the presence of a fringe.] King Rama V ordered it made in B.E.2427 and had it paraded before the troops under the leadership of Maha Ammart Ek Chaopraya Surasakdi Montri (Jerm Saeng-Xuto), before they set out to fight the Hor insurgents who had sparked a rebellion in Sipsongpanna and in the provinces in B.E.2428. Later, the flag came to be known as the "Chuthathutthippatai".

Santiago Dotor, 29 Oct 1999

The Maha Phaichayon Thawat Flag

image by Eugene Ipavec

From the Singha Beer source:

The Mahapaicha Yonthawat
This is a rectangular red flag with a smaller rectangle – in black – forming the middle. In the center is a double-tiered chalice carrying royal trident, and with two multi-tiered white canopies on one either side.

The flag was made to commemorate the discovery, at Tambon Kok Pra Amphur Srimahabho in Prachinburi Province, of a sacred relic in the from of a bronze garuda covered in gold. The garuda is believed to have come from the top of the flagpole used by Kings in ancient times to lead their troops into battle. Since it was considered a symbol of good luck and prosperity, King Rama VI commissioned his artisans to repair the garuda and affix it to the top of a flagpole. He then ordered a black flag to be made, framed by a rectangular red border, upon which a copy of the Royal seal was then embroidered. Then, when the flag was completed, he named it the Mahapaichayonthawat [sic] flag. The flag was used by the military in the same way as the Chuthathuthippatai was during the reign of King Rama V.

Santiago Dotor, 28 Oct 1999

Army Aviation Marking

Kongbin Tha Han Bo (Army Aviation) uses the same marking as the Air Force. See photo.

Dov Gutterman, 26 Jun 2003