Council marks Merchant Navy Day

Published Friday, 31st August 2018

Hartlepool Borough Council is showing its support for seafarers by flying the Red Ensign to mark Merchant Navy Day today.

Councillor Allan Barclay, the Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool, raised the Red Ensign in a special ceremony in front of Civic Centre.

Merchant Navy Day flag raising

Since the beginning of this century, 3 September has been the UK’s officially-designated Merchant Navy Day. The day was chosen because on that day in 1939, the first day of the Second World War, the SS Athenia was the first Merchant Navy ship to be torpedoed and sunk, with the loss of 128 passengers and crew.

Councillor Barclay said: “During the two World Wars, without merchant ships and our brave seafarers – a large number of whom lost their lives – the UK would soon have been starved of food and other essential supplies.

“Our island nation still depends very heavily on the Merchant Navy – 95% of our imports are carried by ship, including half of the food we eat.

“Merchant Navy Day gives us the opportunity to honour the bravery and dedication of the men and women of the Merchant Navy, past and present, and it is with great pride that I raise the Red Ensign.”

HRH The Earl of Wessex, President of the charity Seafarers UK, has endorsed the campaign, saying: “On this Merchant Navy Day, I very much hope you will support this campaign to remember the sacrifices, salute the courage and support the future of the often unsung personnel of our Merchant Navy.”

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Merchant Navy Day