The slogan is ‘ Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day – 3rd September’
As per my post here, to commemorate 100 years of the Merchant Navy, and in remembrance of all those from various countries throughout the world that served in the Merchant Navy and who lost their lives during wars, conflicts and campaigns, Merchant Navy Locomotive 35006 ‘Peninsular & Oriental SN Co’ will be running today on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway on Merchant Navy Day.
She was be suitably decorated for the day with a specially commissioned ‘Merchant Navy’ headboard (see left) and flying the Red Ensign flags for the occasion. The day started with a brief remembrance service at 9.30 am for members of the Merchant Navy Association, at Toddington station, before pulling the 10am departure for Cheltenham.
Following their service in the First World War, King George V bestowed the title of “Merchant Navy” on the British merchant shipping fleets, in 1928 he gave Edward, Prince of Wales the title of “Master of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets”, more recently this title has been held by our current Queen Elizabeth II.
When the United Kingdom and the British Empire entered the Second World War in September 1939, George VI issued this message:
“In these anxious days I would like to express to all Officers and Men and in the British Merchant Navy and the British Fishing Fleets my confidence in their unfailing determination to play their vital part in defence. To each one I would say: Yours is a task no less essential to my people’s experience than that allotted to the Navy, Army and Air Force. Upon you the Nation depends for much of its foodstuffs and raw materials and for the transport of its troops overseas. You have a long and glorious history, and I am proud to bear the title “Master of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets”. I know that you will carry out your duties with resolution and with fortitude, and that high chivalrous traditions of your calling are safe in your hands. God keep you and prosper you in your great task”.
Britain’s merchant fleet was the largest in the world during both world wars. In 1939, a third of the world’s merchant ships were British, and there were some 200,000 sailors. Many merchant seamen came from parts of the British Empire, such as India, Hong Kong and west African countries.
No. 11, 35011 is curently being ambitiously reurned to original condition by the General Steam Navigation Society of which, like for No.6, I am also Sharehlder.
Although this post has given me the chance to share a few pictures of Bulleid Merchant Navy class locomotives and models, it is primarily to recognise and commemorate the sacrifices made on our behalf by merchant seafarers ‘We Will Remember Them’.