Thursday, 1 September 2011

Merchant Navy Day.

Today is the official Merchant Navy day....


a day when my thought turn to those brave men of WW2
who sail the seas and who for many the sea became their last resting place.        

Over 30,000 men of the British Merchant Navy  fell victim to the U-boats between 1939 and 1945, the majority drowned or killed by exposure on the cruel North Atlantic sea.
                                    Even at the height of the Battle of the Atlantic, no British merchant ship was ever held in port by its crew, even though to cross that ocean in a slow-moving merchant ship was to walk hand in hand with death for every minute of the day and night.
The men in the engine-room suffered the tortures of the damned, never knowing when a torpedo might tear through the thin plates of the hull, sending their ship plunging to the bottom before they had a chance to reach the first rung of the ladder to the deck and yet they carried out their duty to the last man.

And yet it took fifty five years until 2000 before these brave men was finally recognised with the introduction of an official Merchant Navy Day, designated 3rd September every year.

And so I ask you to just for a moment today to think of these brave men, upon who Great Britain called for a life-line during the years of war to maintain our stocks of food and materials, to transport men and munitions to battles all over the seas, but mainly for the gallantry with which, though a civilian service, they met and fought the constant attack of the enemy.

In the words of The Right Honourable Alfred Barnes, Minister of War Transport,

"The Merchant Seaman never faltered. To him we owe our preservation and our very lives."

Three Cheers for the Merchant Seamen Hip Hip Hooray........  
Thank you and God Bless.                     



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