Moray Council flies Red Ensign flag to mark Merchant Navy Day
The Red Ensign is flying over Moray Council’s HQ in Elgin to mark Merchant Navy Day.
The council’s Armed Forces and Veterans' Champion – Cllr Peter Bloomfield, joined by Elgin councillor – and Royal Navy veteran – Cllr John Divers, raised the flag this morning (1 September) ahead of Merchant Navy Day on Sunday 3 September.
‘Fly the Red Ensign’ is an annual campaign run by The Seafarers’ Charity to honour the men and women who kept the UK afloat during both World Wars and celebrate modern-day merchant seafarers.
Cllr Peter Bloomfield said: “Our seafarers faced not only the enemy but also savage sea and weather conditions in their vital role of keeping our country and its allies supplied with food and equipment during the two world wars. Our massive debt of gratitude to the men and women of the Merchant Navy continues right up to the present day.”
Cllr John Divers said: “We are immensely proud to pay tribute to the men and women of the Merchant Navy, past and present. They showed outstanding courage and many made the ultimate sacrifice – 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 seafarers had died. During the Second World War, 4,700 British-flagged ships were sunk and more than 29,000 merchant seafarers had lost their lives.”
September 3 was designated as Merchant Navy Day in commemoration of the 128 passengers and crew of the British merchant vessel SS Athenia which was torpedoed just a few hours after war was declared on Germany in 1939.
The Red Ensign (or "Red Duster" as it is occasionally known) is a flag that originated in the early 17th century as a British ensign flown by the Royal Navy and was later adopted specifically by British merchantmen to be flown as the civil ensign of the British merchant fleet.