East coast to remember and honour courage of Merchant Navy

The Red Ensign will be flying at Waveney District Council on Merchant Navy Day on Sunday, September

The Red Ensign will be flying at Waveney District Council on Merchant Navy Day on Sunday, September 3. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

A campaign honouring the sacrifices and courage of the Merchant Navy is coming to the east coast.

Waveney District Council flying the Red Ensign at their Riverside building to mark Merchant Navy Day

Waveney District Council flying the Red Ensign at their Riverside building to mark Merchant Navy Day 2015. Photo: Mick Howes. - Credit: Archant

The distinctive Red Ensign, which has been flown by British Merchant ships since 1707, will appear at various locations marking Merchant Navy Day on Sunday, September 3.

Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils will fly the flag at both East Suffolk House in Melton, Woodbridge and the Riverside offices in Lowestoft in support of the Seafarers UK campaign.

Cllr Mark Bee said: 'It is important that we mark Merchant Navy Day to honour the courageous efforts made by seafarers during both world wars and to recognise our continued dependence on the Merchant Navy.'

The Merchant Navy played a key role in both world wars.


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John Sail, national chairman of the Merchant Navy Association, said: 'They fought the enemy, the weather and the seas to keep the nation and the Armed Services supplied and able to defend themselves.'

Many merchant seamen lost their lives for their service, including a 13-year-old Lowestoft boy Redan Sydney Jeffries, who was among those who was lost at sea during the First World War.

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He was presumed drowned on October 14, 1917.

Redan was a cook aboard the Vanguard fishing vessel on which more that 29 boy seamen aged just 14 lost their lives.

As an 'island nation' the UK still relies on the Merchant Navy Seafarers for over 90pc of its imports – including half the food we eat.

The campaign has been endorsed by Prince Edward, the charity's president.

He said: 'On this Merchant Navy Day, I very much hope you will support this campaign by Seafarers UK to remember the sacrifices, salute the courage and support the future of the often unsung personnel of our Merchant Navy.

'Too often they are the forgotten or invisible service, by raising the Red Ensign you will ensure that at least on this day they are remembered.

'Your act will mean so much to their families and to the retired, but most especially to those at sea.'

Since 2000, Merchant Navy Day has been commemorated on September 3. The day marks the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.

For more information about Merchant Navy Day and Seafarers UK, visit www.merchantnavyfund.org/merchant-navy-day

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