Havering Council flies the Red Ensign in memory of the lost sailors of the Merchant Navy
PUBLISHED: 16:00 04 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:08 04 September 2019
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The flag of the Merchant Navy was raised above Havering town hall this week to pay respect to the thousands of British seafarers who have given their lives to keep the people of the UK well-fed.
Since 2000, Merchant Navy Day on September 3 has honoured the brave men and women who kept our island nation afloat during both world wars.
To mark the special occasion, Havering became one of hundreds of town halls and other buildings across the country to fly the Red Ensign - the UK Merchant Navy's official flag.
The "Fly the Red Ensign" campaign has now entered its fifth year, and is hoping for the flag to be raised 1,000 times across the UK this week.
The Red Ensign was raised outside Havering Town Hall in Main Road, Romford, on Tuesday at a special ceremony attended by the Mayor of Havering Cllr Michael Deon Burton, council leader Cllr Damian White, London Assembly member Keith Prince and veterans from the Royal Naval Association.
Speaking after the ceremony, Cllr Deon Burton told the Recorder: "For far too long the Merchant Navy has been the forgotten navy.
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"We owe them so much for helping to keep the supply lines open during the darkest days of the Second World War.
"Without them, we would not have won the fight against tyranny."
And on a personal level, the mayor said he was delighted to be asked to take part in the event.
He added: "I, like many others, am always surprised to discover how much we don't know about those who gave so much in the fight for freedom.
"So to be asked to take part in events like this always leaves me flattered and humbled."
And Seafarers UK Fundraising & Communications Director Nigel Shattock added: "Seafarers UK's Fly the Red Ensign campaign goes from strength to strength each year, and next year we hope to see over one thousand Red Ensigns being flown around the UK on official flag posts on Merchant Navy Day.
"The campaign's increasing success just goes to show our nation's ongoing connection to the sea, and the respect that people still have for the sacrifices of the past and the hard work of today by British Merchant Navy seafarers in keeping our island nation afloat."