BRITISH MERCHANT NAVY sailors from the past and present were being remembered in Moray on Thursday with the Red Ensign hoisted over the council headquarters.
In a brief ceremony conducted by the convener Councillor Allan Wright all those who served were remembered on the day when the entire nation marked the contribution made through war and peace of those in the merchant fleet.
Moray joined every council in the UK in adhering to a request by the Seafarers UK charity and the Merchant Navy Association to fly the Red Ensign on September 3, Merchant Navy Day.
Councillor Wright read a message at the ceremony from the president of Seafarers UK, the Earl of Wessex: “On this Merchant Navy Day, I very much hope you will support the campaign by Seafarers UK to remember the sacrifices, salute the courage and support the future of the often unsung personnel of our Merchant Navy.
“Too often they are the forgotten or invisible service. By raising the Red Ensign you will ensure at least on this day they are remembered. Your act will mean so much to their families and to the retired, but most especially to those at sea.”
Last night Moray’s MP, Angus Robertson, said that merchant seamen were “incredibly important to us all”, adding: “While it may not be obvious on a day-to-day basis the fact is that we rely on merchant seamen every single day to ensure that people are fed that we have the goods and services we all rely on.
“This can only happen if ships are operating and bringing essential items into ports the length and breadth of the country.
“The contribution of merchant seamen during times of war has been particularly notable. In operations such as the Arctic Convoys of World War II, which operated out of Northern Scotland many thousands lost their lives in the critical work of getting wartime supplies of food, ammunition and equipment to the Russian front.
“These sacrifice should never be forgotten and we should all be aware of the hard work aboard ships that happens every day to keep our economy in Moray and across Scotland operating in an effective way that supports jobs in all our communities.”