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National Merchant Navy Day

29 August 2012 by Rebecca

Red Ensign flag flying from a boat

The Red Ensign or “Red Duster” is the offical flag of the British merchant marine (or fleet)

Sunday 2nd September marks National Merchant Navy Day which commemorates the 40,000 seafarers who died whilst in Britain’s Merchant Navy during the Second World War.
Those seafarers ranged in age from 14 years old to 78 years old, and also included  8,500 Asian seaman and seafarers from across the World who served in the British Merchant Navy.

The 3rd September marks the day when war was officially declared between Britain and Germany, and the nearest Sunday to this date is usually chosen to commemorate National Merchant Navy Day.  This year the 2nd is the closet Sunday, and there will be a midday service at Our Lady & St Nicholas’ seafarers Church in Chapel Street, Liverpool.
After the church service there will be a parade from the Pier head, please see the link for details.

As part of the commemoration the Red Ensign flag will be flown from some public buildings in the city.  This flag is the official flag of the British merchant marine (or fleet). In the Merseyside Maritime Museum’s Battle of the Atlantic gallery you can find out more about the important role carried out by the Merchant Navy in the Second World War.
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest campaign during the Second World War. In 1939 Britain relied on its North Atlantic shipping routes and it needed essential imports from the United States and Canada. In total 60,000 Allied Merchant seafarers lost their lives and it is to them that we pay homage to.

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