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25th Jun, 2022

Wychavon raises Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day

Harry Leach 3rd Sep, 2020

THE Red Ensign flag was raised by Wychavon District Council to mark Merchant Navy Day today.

The commemoration was one of many around the UK to remember all the Merchant Navy sailors from Great Britain’s naval past and show support for today’s seafarers.

At the ceremony at the Civic Centre in Pershore, Wychavon’s Chairman Coun Robert Raphael gave a short reading of thanks from HRH The Earl of Wessex.

The Red Ensign was then raised for Merchant Navy Day which, established in 2000, is held annually on September 3.

It marks 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 8million and around 14,661 merchant seafarers were killed.

In the Second World War, German U-boats sank 2,828 allied ships, amounting to nearly 14.7million tonnes.

The UK alone suffered the loss of 11.7 million tonnes and 32,000 merchant seafarers were killed.

Coun Raphael said it was an honour to fly the flag in memory of the brave merchant seafarers past and present who had sacrificed so much.

“Merchant Navy Day is a time to show our appreciation for everything they have done, and continue to do, for us.”

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