Chelmsford City Council will be supporting Merchant Navy Day by flying the Red Ensign on Monday 3 September. The flag will be raised on the Council's flagpole at the Civic Centre to heighten awareness of the UK's ongoing dependence on Merchant Navy seafarers.
The Mayor of Chelmsford, Councillor Yvonne Spence, is supporting a nationwide call from the Seafarers UK charity and the Merchant Navy Association for the UK Merchant Navy's official flag to be flown on public buildings and landmark flagstaffs.
Councillor Spence said, "The date was chosen because on that day in 1939, the first day of the Second World War, SS Athenia was the first merchant ship to be torpedoed and sunk with the loss of 128 passengers and crew. During the two world wars, the British public realised that without merchant ships, the UK would soon be starved of food and essential supplies."
The charity's president, HRH The Earl of Wessex, has endorsed the campaign, saying, "On this Merchant Navy Day, I very much hope you will support this campaign to remember the sacrifices, salute the courage and support the future of the often-unsung personnel of our Merchant Navy."
As an island nation, the UK relies on Merchant Navy seafarers for 95 per cent of our imports, including half the food we eat. The UK has the largest ports industry in Europe. 75 per cent of our exports (by volume) are shipped from UK ports, some of which are supporting the campaign by encouraging visiting ships to sound their horns at 10am on 3 September.
More information on Merchant Navy Day can be found at www.merchantnavyfund.org/merchant-navy-day.
Friday 24 August