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Erewash remembers

Erewash Borough Council will honour over 40,000 brave comrades of the Merchant Navy who perished during the Second World War when it takes part in the Merchant Navy Association’s commemorations being held nationally over the weekend commencing 1 September 2017.

The council will raise the Red Ensign – the flag, commonly known as the ‘The Red Duster’ that flies on British Merchant Ships – at both Ilkeston and Long Eaton Town Halls from Friday, 1st September to commemorate the occasion.

Wreath-laying ceremonies will also take place on behalf of the residents of Erewash at the war memorial in Long Eaton on Friday, 1st September commencing at 10.50am. A service of commemoration will be held in St Mary’s Church, Market Place, Ilkeston on Sunday, 3rd September 2017 commencing at 10.00am followed by the wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph at 11.00am.

The Merchant Navy was a reserved occupation, with merchant seamen not permitted to join the armed forces during the Second World War. Merchant Navy seamen made an essential contribution to the war effort and each day 200,000 of them faced danger at sea to keep the country’s vital supply lines open.

Within hours of the start of the war, the first casualty – the liner ‘Athenia’ was torpedoed with the loss of 118 lives. From that day until the war ended an average of more than one ship was lost every day, whilst battles with ‘U’ boats alone resulted in the sinking of over 2,500 merchant ships.

The Mayor of Erewash, Councillor Mary Hopkinson, says:

“It is important to honour the role played by merchant seafarers during the Second World War, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice. Erewash Borough Council is proud to fly the ‘Red Duster’ above both its Town Halls in recognition of everything they did for this country.”

Residents are welcome to join the council on these occasions in remembrance of the Merchant Navy and seafarers past and present.

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