Stirling Council honoured Merchant Navy Day on Monday by flying the Red Ensign outside its Viewforth HQ.

Provost Christine Simpson conducted a special flag raising ceremony attended by Interim Chief Executive Carol Beattie and councillors including Stirling Council Leader Scott Farmer.

Viewforth was one of hundreds of civic buildings and landmark flag-poles across the UK to pay tribute to Britain’s brave seamen and seawomen by flying the official UK Merchant Navy flag.

Provost Simpson said: “It is important we fly the flag for Merchant Navy Day to honour and commemorate the seafarers who faced the perils of both World Wars and played such a vital role in helping us emerge victorious from those conflicts.

“September 3, 1939 marked the outbreak of World War II and that very same day the Glasgow-built merchant vessel SS Athenia went down, with the loss of 128 lives. It was the first of hundreds of merchant ships and thousands of crew who tragically met the same fate in the following war years.

“These courageous seafarers put their lives on the line to keep our island nations supplied with food and ammunition and without their sacrifice, victory would have been impossible.

“Merchant Navy Ships continue to this day to face the routine dangers of the seas so Stirling Council is proud to support this event by flying the Red Ensign flag for the rest of the week.”

Merchant Navy Day was launched in 2000 to celebrate the people who are responsible for transporting 95 per cent of the UK’s imports, including half the food we eat.

The fly-the-flag scheme is backed by charity Seafarers UK, whose President is Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

He said: “Merchant Navy Day remembers the sacrifices, salutes the courage and supports the future of the often unsung personnel of our Merchant Navy.

“Too often they are the forgotten or invisible service. By raising the Red Ensign you will ensure that at least on this day they are remembered.”

Stirling Council will fly its Red Ensign outside Viewforth for the remainder of the week.

Council Leader Scott Farmer said: “My grandfather was a captain on the Atlantic convoy runs and my wife’s father was on the Russian convoys so I am glad that Stirling Council has marked Merchant Navy Day.

“Although we are in essence landlocked, there are a lot of families in the Stirling Council area that have a rich history and connection with maritime matters, so it is important that we marked this occasion.”

Pictured: Councillors watch Red Ensign flag raised outside Viewforth to mark Merchant Navy Day 2018

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