Flying the flag for our seafarers

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

Hartlepool Borough Council is showing its support to seafarers by flying the Red Ensign from the Civic Centre today to mark Merchant Navy Day.

Councillor Kevin Cranney, the council’s deputy mayor, was raising the Red Ensign during a special ceremony which was also be attended by Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, the leader of Hartlepool Council and council chief executive Gill Alexander.

Since the beginning of this century, September 3 has been the UK’s officially-designated Merchant Navy Day.

The day was chosen because on that day in 1939 - the first day of the Second World War - SS Athenia was the first merchant navy ship to be torpedoed and sunk with the loss of 128 passengers and crew.

Coun Kevin Cranney said: “We are delighted to join together with other councils and organisations in flying the Red Ensign to mark Merchant Navy Day.

“We are indebted to the fabulous work of the Merchant Navy, not just during times of conflict, but also for the work they do to transport goods to this country including half the food we eat.”

The charity’s president, HRH The Earl of Wessex, has endorsed the campaign, saying: “On this 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.”

Hartlepool was one of than 400 local authorities throughout the UK who were invited by Seafarers UK and the Merchant Navy Association to take part in Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day’.