The Red Ensign or “Red Duster” is the civil ensign of the United Kingdom. It is one of the British Ensigns, and it is used either plain, or defaced with a badge or other emblem. It is the flag flown by British Merchant ships since 1707. Prior to 1707 an English red ensign and a Scottish red ensign were flown by the English and Scottish navies respectively. The precise date of the first appearance of these earlier red ensigns is not known, but surviving receipts indicate that the English navy was paying to have such flags sewn in the 1620s.