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A salute to our Merchant Navy

The Red Ensign raised to mark Merchant Navy Day 2017.

Merchant Navy Day flag raising 2017

To mark Merchant Navy Day, 3 September, East Renfrewshire Provost Jim Fletcher raised the Red Ensign at Eastwood Park to raise awareness of the UK's ongoing dependence on Merchant Navy seafarers.

And residents with close connections to the Merchant Navy, including George Burns and James Pettigrew from Busby, joined Provost Fletcher to help raise the flag and share stories, memories and artefacts.

I believe there is presently not enough recognition for the Merchant Navy across the world and this ceremony is a wonderful way to get together, share our stories and remind ourselves of the importance of the service.
George Burns (91) - who joined the Merchant Navy in 1944 as a deck boy and progressed to a 3rd mate

The flag-raising ceremony held by East Renfrewshire Council is in support of the annual day of recognition organised by the Seafarers UK charity and the Merchant Navy Association.

Merchant Navy Day is a way to celebrate all those who have carried out a range of roles over the years. The Merchant Navy past and present has often been an unsung service but many who have sailed the globe under our country's colours have shown sacrifice and bravery. They helped keep the country afloat during wartime, and in peacetime often face challenging conditions whilst doing their job.
Provost Fletcher

James Pettigrew, who served from 1954 until 1958 as an Engineer, and Rob Gebbie, who served as a Captain between 1965 and 2012 in both the Scottish and Australian Merchant Navy, also attended the ceremony and shared their memories.

As an 'island nation' the UK relies on Merchant Navy seafarers for 95 per cent of our imports, including half the food we eat. The UK has the largest ports industry in Europe. 75 per cent of our exports (by volume) are shipped from UK ports.


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