Erewash Borough Council will honour the thousands of brave comrades who perished during the Second World War when it marks the annual Merchant Navy Day on Thursday 3 September.

The council will commemorate Merchant Navy Day by raising the Red Ensign – the flag, commonly known as ‘The Red Duster’ that flies proudly on British Merchant Ships – at both Ilkeston and Long Eaton Town Halls.

In addition, the council will take part in wreath-laying ceremonies – on behalf of the residents of Erewash – at the war memorials in Ilkeston and Long Eaton at 10am on the day.

The Mayor of Erewash, Councillor Val Custance, will lay the wreath at Ilkeston and in Long Eaton the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Abey Stevenson, will represent the borough.

The Merchant Navy was a reserved occupation, with merchant seamen not permitted to join the armed forces during the Second World War. Merchant Navy seamen made an essential contribution to the war effort and each day 200,000 of them faced danger at sea to keep the country’s vital supply lines open.

Within hours of the start of the war, the first casualty – the liner ‘Athenia’ was torpedoed with the loss of 118 lives. From that day until the war ended an average of more than one ship was lost every day, whilst battles with ‘U’ boats alone resulted in the sinking of over 2,500 merchant ships.

The Mayor of Erewash, Councillor Val Custance, says:

“It is important that we honour the role played by merchant seafarers during the Second World War, many of whom paid the ultimate sacrifice. Erewash Borough Council is always proud to fly the ‘Red Duster’ above both its Town Halls in recognition of everything they did for this country and to be part of the ceremony to commemorate the national Merchant Navy Day.”

Residents are welcome to join the council at the wreath-laying ceremonies in remembrance of the Merchant Navy and seafarers lost in the Second World War.

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