Peterborough to fly the flag for Merchant Navy Day

The important role played by the Merchant Navy during the First and Second World Wars will be recognised in Peterborough.

Members of the public are invited to attend a ceremony to mark Merchant Navy Day and pay tribute to the sacrifices of seafarers.

The Red Ensign, the Merchant Navy’s official flag, will be raised at the War Memorial in Bridge Street, Peterborough, at 10am on Friday 1 September.

Merchant Navy Day is the annual celebration of the British Merchant Navy, with the memorial service held for the seafarers who died at sea in the First and Second World Wars.

Such was the sacrifice of the Merchant Service during the First World War that King George V decreed in 1928 that they should be known as the ‘Merchant Navy’.

By the end of the Second World War more than 4,700 British ships had been sunk and more than 35,000 Merchant Seamen had lost their lives. 

Peterborough City Council is supporting the event which is promoted nationally by Seafarers UK, a charity that helps people in the maritime community.

The ceremony, from 9.55am, will be led by the Mayor of Peterborough, Councillor John Fox, alongside The Reverend Canon Ian Black from Peterborough Cathedral. The Mayor is also Peterborough’s armed forces champion, having served as a radio operator in the Royal Navy for 11 years.

The Mayor said: "Merchant Navy Day is such an important event and I hope many people will attend this ceremony.

“It is vital that people don’t forget the sacrifices made for them by previous generations and this ceremony will  publicly recognise the work, loyalty and dedication to duty of the men and women who serve in the British Merchant Navy."

Merchant Navy Day falls on Sunday 3 September this year, but Seafarers UK has given the city council authority to fly the Red Ensign flag from Friday 1 September to Monday 4 September.

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