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Wychavon flies the flag for Merchant Navy Day

Wychavon District Council marked Merchant Navy Day today (Tuesday) by raising the Red Ensign flag.

The commemoration, which took place at the Civic Centre in Pershore, joined those around the UK in remembering all of the Merchant Navy sailors from Great Britain’s proud naval past, and also to show support for today’s British seafarers.

At the ceremony, Wychavon’s Chairman, Cllr Frances Smith gave a short reading of thanks from HRH The Earl of Wessex, and John Lynch L.L.M led the prayers, before raising the Red Ensign.

Evesham Sea Cadets, members of the Royal British Legion and civic dignitaries were also in attendance.

The flag will be raised in hundreds of villages, towns and cities across the UK to show support for the Merchant Navy, as well as to help highlight the work Seafarers UK, the charity that supports the maritime community.

Merchant Navy Day was established in 2000 by HM Government and is on 3 September every year, the anniversary of the start of the Second World War when the merchant ship SS Athenia was torpedoed and sunk, with the loss of 128 passengers and crew.

In the First and Second World Wars, the merchant fleets suffered heavy losses from German U-boat attacks. The tonnage lost to U-boats in the First World War was nearly 8 million, and around 14,661 merchant seafarers were killed.

In the Second World War, German U-boats sank 2,828 Allied ships, amounting to nearly 14.7 million tonnes. The UK alone suffered the loss of 11.7 million tonnes and 32,000 merchant seafarers were killed.

Cllr Frances Smith, Chairman of Wychavon District Council, said: “We are pleased to fly the flag in in honour of the brave merchant seafarers past and present who have sacrificed so much for our nation. Merchant Navy Day is a time to show our appreciation for everything they have done, and continue to do, for us.”

Visit www.merchantnavyfund.org/merchant-navy-day/ for more information.

Pictured: Consort John Smith OBE, Chairman Cllr Frances Smith and John Lynch L.L.M with the Red Ensign Flag outside the Civic Centre.