Merchant Navy Day is a day celebrated in the United Kingdom to mark the contribution of merchant seafarers past and present. It is an opportunity to honour the men and women who have sailed throughout history, as well as those currently working in the industry.
Merchant Navy Day is a special day dedicated to the courage and commitment of those who served in the Merchant Navy. The Flag Shop is proud to show our support for this remarkable group, comprising as it does a civilian fleet of merchant ships that rendered such invaluable service during times of war and peace alike. To provide some context, King George V bestowed the title 'Merchant Navy' after WWI to acknowledge their amazing contribution. Indeed, Britain's merchant fleet was the largest in the world at that time, with 200,000 sailors manning as many as one-third of all registered vessels!
The valiant work of these anonymous heroes often went unrecognised, despite them risking their lives to transport essential goods across hazardous seas during both World Wars. Amidst flying bullets and the shadow of enemy submarines, they persevered in the face of overwhelming adversity. Such was their selflessness that their heroic deeds often were overlooked by the more glamorous exploits of popular military action.
It's not just about appreciating their heroism during these times of difficulty; Merchant seafarers now shoulder the responsibility for more than 90% of the UK's imports. Unfortunately, many members of the public are unaware of this fact and so it is very important to emphasise their hard work.
It took years of lobbying to make September 3rd, 2000 the official day for commemorating members of the Merchant Navy. On this day each year, the British people demonstrate their gratitude and respect by raising the Red Ensign flag - the official banner of the Merchant Navy - in all regions of the United Kingdom. This symbolic gesture is to honour all those who have served beneath its proud folds throughout history.