Call for Merchant Navy veterans to tell their stories

A Second World War poster advertising the vital role of the Merchant Navy.  It carried the slogan: "The lifeline is firm - thanks to the Merchant Navy.
A Second World War poster advertising the vital role of the Merchant Navy. It carried the slogan: "The lifeline is firm - thanks to the Merchant Navy.

East Renfrewshire Council wants to hear from Merchant Navy veterans with a story to tell, ahead of a special flag-raising ceremony.

Some 32,000 Merchant Navy seafarers died during the Second World War and around 15,000 during the Great War, in the effort to keep vital supply lines open in the teeth of a determined and ruthless enemy.

Among their most harrowing ordeals were the legendary Murmansk Convoys, which brought a steady flow of material aid to the Soviet Union at a time when it was reeling from the Nazi onslaught.

More recently Merchant Navy personnel have died in conflicts including the Malayan Emergency and the Falklands confict – and their role remains crucial today.

On Friday, September 1, East Renfrewshire Provost Jim Fletcher will raise the Red Ensign at Giffnock’s Eastwood Park to raise awareness of the UK’s ongoing dependence on what’s increasingly seen as an unsung service whose exploits must be properly recognised.

Provost Fletcher said: “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 while doing their job.

“Merchant Navy Day is held across the UK as a way to celebrate all those who have carried out a range of roles over the years. I would encourage anyone who has seen service and has a particular story they want to share with us, to please get in touch and join us for the flag raising.”

Residents with close connections to the Merchant Navy are being encouraged to come along to mark the occasion and share their stories, memories and artefacts.

Anyone in East Renfrewshire who wants to attend the event and share their story should call 0141 577 3107 or email margaret.pettigrew@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk.

You can also write to Members’ Services, East Renfrewshire Council, Eastwood Park, Giffnock, G46 6UG.