Fly the Red Ensign Campaign

Since 2000, Merchant Navy Day on 3rd September has honoured the brave men and women who kept our ‘island nation’ afloat during both World Wars, and celebrated our dependence on modern day merchant seafarers who are responsible for 95% of the UK’s imports, including almost half the food we eat, plenty of the fuel we rely on and virtually all the products and goods we tend to take for granted!

For the fifth year running, Seafarers UK campaigned for the Red Ensign – the UK Merchant Navy’s official flag – to be flown on 3rd September on civic buildings and landmark flagpoles. Parish, community, town, city, district and borough councils were all invited to take part, along with higher-tier local authorities and governments.

As a result of effective campaigning by Seafarers UK and the active participation of Merchant Navy Association members, a Red Ensign was flown ashore at more than one thousand locations all around the UK. A selection of photographs is available to view in a new album.

This year hundreds of local flag-hoisting ceremonies were organised, involving VIPs, civic dignitaries, Merchant Navy veterans, naval cadets, etc. A message of support from HRH The Earl of Wessex was available to be read out at participating locations ‘to remember the sacrifices, salute the courage and support the future of the often unsung personnel of our Merchant Navy.’

Even the Prime Minister got involved! Boris Johnson wrote: ‘2019 marks the centenary of King George V’s grant of the title ‘Merchant Navy’. I am delighted that, in honour of this milestone, the Red Ensign flag will fly above 10 Downing Street on this Merchant Navy Day.’

For further information please contact Nick Harvey, Campaigns Manager at Seafarers UK, email nick.harvey@seafarers.uk, phone 020 7932 5969.