Council raises flag to honour Merchant Navy
Release date: 2 September 2016
Caption: Cllr Annett (left) at last year's flag raising with Mike Napper (right) of Cotswold District Council.
Cotswold District Council raised a Red Ensign flag at its Trinity Road offices today to mark Merchant Navy Day which falls on Saturday 3 September.
Commenting on the flag raising, Council Chairman Cllr Mark Annett said:
“History shows that 3 September marked the outbreak of the Second World War, but few are aware that it also commemorates the first major British maritime casualty – the merchant vessel SS Athenia which was torpedoed just a few hours after hostilities were declared, resulting in the loss of 128 passengers and crew. Many hundreds of merchant ships and thousands of seafarers met the same fate during the war and it is fitting that we honour the contribution that the brave men and women from the Merchant Navy made to keep Britain supplied with goods during both World Wars. Nowadays our shipping lanes are much safer but we are just as dependent on the Merchant Navy to sustain us because modern day merchant seafarers are responsible for 95% of the UK's imports, including half the food that we eat.”
“Our thoughts are with the members of the Merchant Navy, past and present, and the debt we owe them. This special day gives us a chance to consider their invaluable contribution to the nation’s wellbeing, and we give thanks for a national institution which is very rarely praised in public.”
Merchant Navy Day was launched on 3 September 2000 and, since that time, commemorative ceremonies have taken place at venues across the country on that date. For more information about Merchant Navy Day see www.merchantnavyfund.org/merchant-navy-day/