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

The council will raise the Red Ensign – the flag, commonly known as the ‘The Red Duster’, that flies on British Merchant Ships – at both Ilkeston and Long Eaton Town Halls to commemorate the occasion.

Wreath-laying ceremonies will also take place on behalf of the residents of Erewash at the war memorials in Ilkeston and Long Eaton at 11am on the day. Anyone wishing to attend is asked to be there for 10.45am.

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, while battles with ‘U’ boats alone resulted in the sinking of over 2,500 merchant ships.

The Mayor of Erewash, Councillor Abey Stevenson, says:

“It is important to honour the role played by merchant seafarers during the Second World War, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice. Erewash Borough Council is proud to fly the ‘Red Duster’ above both its Town Halls in recognition of everything they did for this country.”

Residents are welcome to join the council at the wreath-laying ceremonies in remembrance of the Merchant Navy and seafarers past and present.

Erewash Borough Council’s event is listed on the ‘Roll of Honour’ on the Merchant Navy website –

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