Date Published: 16 August 2018
The British Merchant Navy’s iconic Red Ensign will be flown outside Oakham Library on Monday 3rd September to mark Merchant Navy Day 2018.
Merchant Navy Day is celebrated throughout the UK on 3rd September each year – the day that marked the start of the Second World in 1939 and which saw the first British maritime casualty of the conflict, the sinking of the merchant vessel SS Athenia.
It is for this reason that 3rd September has come to be recognised as ‘Merchant Navy Day’, honouring the men and women who supplied Britain during both World Wars, as well as those who continue to face the routine perils of long voyages at sea.
The Red Ensign, or ‘Red Duster’, has been recognised as the flag of the British Merchant Navy since 1854 and will be raised outside Oakham Library at 11.00am on Monday 3rd September as Rutland shows its support for Merchant Navy Day.
“I am so pleased that in Rutland on September 3rd we will once again give recognition to a vital service. The Merchant Navy plays, and has played, a very significant part in the life of our country. It is the ‘forgotten service’. Without the efforts of the Merchant Navy both the First and Second World Wars would have been lost. Many Merchant Navy men gave their lives in the two world wars. A total of 15,707 died in World War One and 37,523 in World War Two. On a per capita basis the Merchant Navy lost more men in World War Two than the combined services together. It is very fitting that we pay tribute to their contribution in the centenary year of the First World War.”
Lord-Lieutenant of Rutland Dr Sarah Furness
“Merchant Navy Day is a chance for us to show our support and appreciation for a special group of people who have helped to keep our country going during the best and worst of times. We are all indebted to the Merchant Navy for their contribution to the defence of our nation throughout both World Wars. Even today, we are reliant on shipping for 95% of our imports, including half of the food we eat. Land-locked Rutland may not be a coastal area but, as an island nation, we should all be thankful to the Merchant Navy for the vital job they do.”
Councillor Richard Foster, Armed Forces Champion
Merchant Navy Day was first recognised on 3rd September 2000 and is supported by local authorities across the UK.
For more information about Merchant Navy Day and how to show your support for the Merchant Navy, please visit the Merchant Navy Fund website.