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History - General
History - Maritime
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Geoff Parsons MSc CEng FIET FIEE is a former senior Royal Naval officer who has had a keen interest in flags, scientific instruments and navigation for over 30 years. He is a past Chairman and Trustee of the Flag Institute, which is the United Kingdom's national flag charity and advisor to the UK Parliament All Party Heraldry and Flag Committee, and a member of the Scientific Instrument Society and North American Sundial Society.

He specialises in talks about the development of Royal Coats of Arms, Heraldic Banners, and state and national flags. He also covers the history and use of maritime and signal flags at sea, and national, county and civil flags on land. Cruise passengers often enquire about the flags flown on board their ship, and in the countries and harbours they visit. Geoff also provides lectures on signal flags, including their use at the Battle of Trafalgar, and their continued importance and relevance today in the modern communication age.

He regularly gives lectures to the international vexillogical congress held every two years, including congresses held in Washington DC, Rotterdam and Berlin. These congresses are attended by government departments, flag authorities, museum staffs and national flag experts.

On retirement from the Royal Navy, Geoff joined BAE Systems and became the Chief Engineer Naval Base Portsmouth responsible for engineering and operational governance. His office overlooked HMS Victory and the operational naval base which gives him a wonderful opportunity to view in real time the evolving use of flags at sea and in harbour.

Geoff is also a member of the British Sundial Society and has lectured on scientific instruments, sundials, and the heliochronometer, at international conferences, including those held at Oxford and Harvard, to world renowned scientific experts from the major scientific universities and museums.

The subject of time keeping using the sun retains a fascination and broad appeal since it enables everyone to connect to real time, the seasons, and their natural world. Sundials have played a key part in history and social development. The importance of this important scientific instrument deserves wider recognition and appreciation. The use of time keeping using the sun to navigate by the ancient mariners during the early voyages of discovery is also covered, and the technological advances in timekeeping today and in the future.

Geoff very much enjoys lecturing and likes to fully interact with his audience. He believes it takes a special skill to stimulate, educate and entertain cruise passengers.

1. The Union Flag or is it Union Jack its history, purpose and use today?
2. The history and development of the royal standard from William the Conqueror until today
3. Flags flown from ships at sea and in harbours why are they flown and what do they mean?
4. National and local flags flown ashore - where do they come from?
5. How do we communicate at sea with signal flags - why do we still use flags when we have modern communications
6. The development of county, city and town flags which is your county flag?
7. How to design, install and adjust your own sundial to give the correct time
8. Why do we need sundials when we have clocks, and why do they not tell the right time?