Today is Merchant Navy Day. 3rd September 1939 was not only the date that World War II began but also the date of the first major British maritime casualty with the loss of the Merchant Navy vessel SS Arthenia, torpedoed just hours after hostilities were declared. The ship went down with 128 passengers and crew. This was the first of many such losses as the brave men and women of the Merchant Navy continued to maintain essential supplies during the war.
Since 2000, Merchant Navy Day on 3rd September has honoured the brave men and women who kept our ‘Island Nation’ afloat during both World Wars, and celebrated our dependence on modern day merchant seafarers who are responsible for 95% of the UK’s imports, including much of the food we eat, most of the fuel we burn and virtually all the products and goods we take for granted!
On Friday evening, Mayor Chris Woodward attended a flag raising ceremony at the Town Hall where, the Red Ensign (red duster as it is affectionately known) was raised by cadets from TS Euryalus. He was accompanied by Councillor Brenda Churchill, a former Wren and Councillor Howard Chirgwin, who is a former member of the Merchant Navy. Our thanks to all who attended. The flag is flying above the Town Hall for the entire weekend.