SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Semaphore. Historical illustration of a sailor (with flags) sending a message by semaphore. The sailor's colleague is receiving semaphore messages with the aid of a telescope. Semaphore is an alphabetic flag signalling system. This system is based on the waving of hand-held flags in a particular pattern. The flags are held at arms' length at various positions representing each of the letters of the alphabet. Signalling in semaphore is a long standing tradition of the British navy. The image shows the position of the enemy being signalled to Admiral Sir W. Hewett during the Soudan War of 1885.
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