05/02/2013 08:05 EDT | Updated 07/02/2013 05:12 EDT

Navy replaces maple leaf flag for new design

After 48 years, the Royal Canadian Navy will be flying a new flag.

The new ensign will debut on May 5, marking the anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic, a time when the navy and Canadians salute the sacrifices of sailors during the Second World War.

Since 1965, the Canadian maple leaf flag has flown off the stern of Canadian warships. The new design harkens back to the wartime navy. Back then, the naval ensign had a British flag in the upper corner on an all-white background.

In a reversal, the flag known as the Naval Jack will become the new Canadian naval ensign and the maple leaf design will become the new Naval Jack.

The new naval ensign incorporates the national flag in the upper left hand corner and the naval badge.

The navy said the switch doesn't mean they’ll scrap the maple leaf flag. Previously the ensign flag was displayed on the bow of Canadian warships, a less prominent position in navy protocol.

The new ensign will fly on 34 Canadian warships. The first ship to show it will be HMCS Toronto, now serving in the Persian Gulf.