September 3 – Merchant Navy Day

September 3, 2012 — Leave a comment
Merchant Navy Flag

UK Merchant Navy Ensign
CC Image courtesy of L2F1 on Flickr

Today the United Kingdom, along with Australia, Canada and New Zealand, remembers the sacrifices of their merchant marine from World War One to the present day. The Merchant Navy has served in WWI, WWI, Korea, the Suez Crisis, the Falklands War, and Gulf Wars I & II. More than 14,500 seamen lost their lives in World War I and another 30,000 perished during World War II. September 3rd was chosen as the date to honor the Merchant Navy because September 3, 1939 marked the first loss of British shipping in World War 2 – the SS Athenia. Two shipwrecks, SS Storaa and M/V Atlantic Conveyor, have subsequently been designated protected places under the UK Protection of Military Remains Act. Storaa was lost in World War One to a German u-boat while Atlantic Conveyor is the most recent Merchant Navy loss, having been sunk while supporting British efforts to free the Falkland Islands from their Argentinian invaders.

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