Council marks Merchant Navy Day

Published Thursday, 2nd September 2021

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

Councillor Brenda Loynes, the Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool, raised the ‘Red Duster’ as it is affectionately known, in a special ceremony in front of Civic Centre.

Also taking part in the ceremony were the Mayor’s husband and Consort Councillor Dennis Loynes, Hartlepool Borough Council's Managing Director Denise McGuckin, Petty Officer Jane Fox, Commanding Officer of Hartlepool Sea Cadets, and Sea Cadets Petty Officer Cadet Emma Fox.

Merchant Navy Day 2021

Since the beginning of this century, 3rd 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 Brenda Loynes said: “This is a day which is especially close to my heart as my late father Captain Charles Noakes of the Merchant Navy served in the Second World War, including during the invasion of North Africa, when his ship came under heavy enemy attack.

“During the two World Wars our brave seafarers risked – and in many cases gave – their lives as they battled not only the enemy but also often appalling sea and weather conditions to keep our Armed Forces, our country and its allies supplied with vital food and equipment.

“Today, with more seaports and harbours and a longer coastline than any other European country, our dependence on the Merchant Navy for both our imports and exports has increased still further.

“The men and women of the Merchant Navy play a massive role in the wellbeing of our island nation and we owe them an immense debt of gratitude. I am very proud to pay tribute to them.”