Erewash Borough Council flew the Red Ensign above Ilkeston and Long Eaton town halls on Monday 3 September to honour the brave comrades of the Merchant Navy who helped keep the UK afloat during both World Wars.

The flag flew to mark Merchant Navy Day and to back the Seafarers UK campaign to see the Red Ensign - the Merchant Navy’s official flag – flown on civic buildings and landmark flagpoles across the UK.

The Merchant Navy was a reserved occupation, with merchant seamen not permitted to join the armed forces during the World Wars. The crews made an essential contribution to the war effort, with thousands losing their lives as they faced danger at sea to keep the country’s vital supply lines open.

The Mayor of Erewash, Councillor Chris Corbett, says:

“We are very proud that here in Erewash we fly the Red Ensign from our town halls every year to mark this special day. It is important that we honour the role played by merchant seafarers, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice during war.”

As well as honouring the brave comrades who perished and those who served their country during war, Merchant Navy Day also celebrates the modern day merchant seafarers who are responsible for 95% of the UK's imports, including half the food we eat, a large proportion of the fuel we burn and many products and goods we take for granted.

The local branches of the Royal British Legion will hold short services at 10.55am the Ilkeston and Long Easton war memorials to commemorate the day.