Merchant Navy Day to be celebrated

Date published: 01 September 2015

Merchant Navy Day will be celebrated on 3 September 2015 by the raising of the Red Ensign across all the boroughs Townships at 10am, and the public is being encouraged to attend.

Flags were the principal means of communication at sea for centuries and the Merchant Navy has a long and illustrious history that has seen it play a vital role in our country’s commercial interests, proudly flying the Red Ensign across the oceans of the world.

In peace-time and throughout dangerous conflicts, the Merchant Navy has worked tirelessly and bravely to help keep our economy buoyant, providing employment on land and sea for officers, deck hands, engineers, cooks, stewards, seamen, dock workers and many more others.

In the First and Second World Wars, the merchant fleets suffered heavy losses from German U-boat attacks.

A policy of unrestricted warfare meant that merchant seafarers were at constant risk of attack from enemy ships and submarines.

Nearly eight million tons were lost to U-boats in the First World War, and 14,661 merchant seafarers were killed.

It was the effect of these casualties and their bereaved families, together with those from the Royal Navy and Fishing Fleets, which led to the formation in 1917 of King George’s Fund for Sailors – now known as Seafarers UK the charity which is leading the drive for Merchant Navy Day to be widely commemorated.


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