COUNCIL chiefs marked Merchant Navy Day by raising the Red Ensign flag at Wychavon District Council’s base in Pershore.
The commemoration joined those around the UK in remembering all of the Merchant Navy sailors from Great Britain’s proud naval past, and also to show support for today’s British seafarers.
At the ceremony, Wychavon chairman Coun Robert Raphael gave a short reading of thanks from HRH The Earl of Wessex, before raising the Red Ensign.
The flag will be raised in hundreds of villages, towns and cities across the UK to show support for the Merchant Navy, as well as to help highlight the work Seafarers UK, the charity that supports the maritime community.
“It is an honour to fly the flag in memory of the brave merchant seafarers past and present who have sacrificed so much for our nation. Merchant Navy Day is a time to show our appreciation for everything they have done, and continue to do, for us,” Coun Raphael said.
Merchant Navy Day was established in 2000 by HM Government and is on September 3 every year, the anniversary of the start of the Second World War when the merchant ship SS Athenia was torpedoed and sunk, with the loss of 128 passengers and crew.
In the First and Second World Wars, the merchant fleets suffered heavy losses from German U-boat attacks. The tonnage lost to U-boats in the First World War was nearly 8 million, and around 14,661 merchant seafarers were killed.
In the Second World War, German U-boats sank 2,828 Allied ships, amounting to nearly 14.7 million tonnes. The UK alone suffered the loss of 11.7 million tonnes and 32,000 merchant seafarers were killed.
Visit www.merchantnavyfund.org/merchant-navy-day/ for more.