Councillors, members of the public and forces veterans joined together to commemorate Merchant Navy Day 2015.
Led by Pageantmaster, Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR, the Merchant Navy Association and Seafarers UK requested all local authorities to ‘Fly the Red Ensign’, the Merchant Navy’s official flag.
Vice Chairman of West Lindsey District Council, Coun Roger Patterson, invited staff, the public and veterans to the front of the Guildhall in Gainsborough to raise the flag and to mark respect for the work done by this illustrious group.
Coun Patterson said: “This is a long overdue mark of respect to the Merchant Navy, who saved lives and made a difference to conflicts over many years. What they did was very admirable and until now they didn’t get the recognition they perhaps deserved. It’s great that West Lindsey District Council has signed up to be involved.”
Representatives from RAF bases across the county attended and read poetry related to the Merchant Navy, including ‘Big Steamers’ by Rudyard Kipling.
Deacon Stephen Boulter, West Lindsey District Council’s Chairman’s Chaplain also read prayers at the ceremony, he said: “As someone who served for the RAF, it’s great to see other organisations being recognised for their contributions.”
The UK’s prosperity has been dependent on the Merchant Navy since the beginning of international trade. These brave seafarers saw the UK continue to receive food and essential supplies through two World Wars, played a huge role in national operations and even today more than 90% of imports into the UK are carried by ship.