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Red Ensign to be hoisted to honour Merchant Navy

The Red Ensign will be flown at Fenland Hall in March on Friday, September 2, to mark Merchant Navy Day.

Fly the Red Ensign logo 2016

Fenland District Council chairman Councillor Carol Cox will be hosting a brief ceremony that will include the raising of the Merchant Navy's official flag, affectionately known as the Red Duster.

Fenland District Council is one of hundreds of local authorities and other bodies holding events on September 2-3 to honour merchant seafarers, past and present, and recognise the debt the nation owes to them.

As an island nation the UK relies on Merchant Navy seafarers for 95 per cent of its imports.

Merchant Navy Day has been commemorated on September 3 since 2000. It was on that date in 1939, the first day of the Second World War, that the SS Athenia was the first merchant ship to be torpedoed and sunk, with the loss of 128 lives.

About 32,000 merchant seafarers were killed in the Second World War - a higher casualty ratio than for any branch of the armed forces. Losses in the First World War totalled more than 14,600.

The Red Ensign has been the recognised flag of the Merchant Navy since 1854.

Article added August 23, 2016