The vital work and commitment of the Merchant Navy is to be recognised by Argyll and Bute Council as part of a UK-wide flag raising event to take place on Thursday 3 September.
The council is supporting a nationwide call from the Seafarers UK charity and the Merchant Navy Association for the Red Ensign - the UK Merchant Navy’s official flag - to be flown on public buildings and landmark flag poles. The ensign will be flown from eight council flag poles to mark the event.
Merchant Navy Day aims to raise awareness of the UK’s ongoing dependence on Merchant Navy seafarers.
Provost Len Scoullar will raise the Red Ensign at the council’s headquarters, Kilmory, in Lochgilphead. He said, “The council fully supports this opportunity to say a well-deserved thank you to the UK’s seafarers.
“We rely on the Merchant Navy for ninety five per cent of our imports, including half the food we eat.
“The huge level of support to keeping vital supplies and services moving during both the First and Second World Wars should be remembered during this time when we are recalling the impact on our communities of the Great War
“In wartime, Britain depended on civilian cargo ships to import food and raw materials, as well as to transport soldiers overseas, and keep them supplied.”
The charity’s president, HRH the Earl of Wessex, has endorsed the campaign, saying, “On 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.”
The UK has the largest ports industry in Europe. 75% 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.
By the end of the First World War, more than 3,000 British flagged merchant and fishing vessels had been sunk and nearly 15,000 merchant seamen had died. During the Second World War, 4,700 British-flagged ships were sunk and more than 29,000 merchant seamen died.
In Argyll and Bute the Red Ensign will be hoisted at 10am on Thursday 3 September at the following locations –
Municipal Buildings, Oban
Front green, Lochgilphead
Pier Head, Campbeltown
Victoria Halls, Helensburgh
Kirn Gardens, Dunoon
Castle Gardens, Dunoon
The ensign will be flown for one day.
For more information please visit www.merchantnavyfund.org/merchant-navy-day