Merchant Navy Day marked in north Norfolk by raising of Red Ensign

NNDC supports Merchant Navy Day. Pictures: NNDC

NNDC supports Merchant Navy Day. Pictures: NNDC - Credit: Archant

North Norfolk marked Merchant Navy Day with a special service and the hoisting of a Red Ensign.

NNDC supports Merchant Navy Day by hoistng a Red Ensign. Pictures: NNDC

NNDC supports Merchant Navy Day by hoistng a Red Ensign. Pictures: NNDC - Credit: Archant

Since 2000, the national event has honoured the brave men and women who kept the UK afloat during both world wars.

For the fourth year running, Seafarers U campaigned for the Red Ensign - the UK Merchant Navy's official flag - to be flown on civic buildings and landmark flagpoles across the UK on September 3.

Nicholas Coppack, chairman of North Norfolk District Council, hoisted a Red Ensign at a ceremony held at the council's Cromer office at 9.15am today.

Mr Coppack said: 'We are an island nation, we do and will always rely on the merchant fleet to keep us fed and supplied.

'Let us remember not only those who have given their lives for us, but those still sailing in what can only be described as uncharted waters that lay ahead.'

He also told the story of the link between the Coppack surname and seafaring, dating back to the late 1700s.

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The story included the formation of the Coppack Brothers shipping line, which carried cargo around the world.

After the ceremony, the Red Ensign was also flown in Cromer churchyard as the second part of a joint commemoration between Cromer Town Council and NNDC.

Cromer Town Mayor David Pritchard said: 'When I think of the Merchant Navy and their work in the two world wars I primarily think of the brave men who were part of the Arctic Convoys in the Second World War.

'The conditions they sailed in were not just extremely dangerous but they were also horrific. They would spend hours in freezing temperatures breaking ice off the ships as the extra weight could be lethal; this was in addition to the constant threat of the Nazi war-machine.

'Sadly, many of these brave men had died when after 70 years they were finally honoured with the introduction of a new medal in 2012, the Arctic Star. Such was the gratitude of the Russian people, they also started awarding survivors the Ushakov medal in 2014.'