The Red Ensign flag is flying high in Harborough today (Friday) to mark Merchant Navy Day

The flag is flown all over the UK today to recognise the supreme sacrifices made by thousands of seafarers in the two world wars

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 1:45 pm
Council chairman Cllr Stephen Bilbie flying the flag

The iconic Red Ensign flag is flying high in Market Harborough today (Friday) to mark Merchant Navy Day.

Famously known as the Red Duster, the standard is flying proudly over Harborough District Council’s Symington Building on Adam and Eve Street.

The flag is flown all over the UK today to recognise the supreme sacrifices made by thousands of seafarers in the two world wars.

Cllr Phil King, who leads Harborough council, said this afternoon: “It’s critical that we honour and salute our brave Merchant Navy seamen on this powerfully symbolic day.

“Tens of thousands of brave men put their lives on the line day in day out for king and country in both world wars and in many other conflicts as well.

“They still, of course, perform a vital service for us all to this day keeping us supplied and helping to power up our economy.

“We owe them all an enormous debt of gratitude and all our thanks,” said Cllr King.

A staggering 30,248 British merchant seamen were killed in the Second World War alone - a death rate that was higher proportionately than in any of our armed forces.

This particular date, September 3, was chosen as it commemorates the sinking of the first British merchant ship in 1939 - just hours after World War Two was declared.