From: Dennis Ayling, Sessay, North Yorkshire.
As we approach Remembrance Sunday when we quite rightly honour the Fallen, I wonder if your readers could take time out to spare a thought for all the gallant men of the British Merchant Navy who lost their lives in both conflicts.
Some 47,000 British sailors lost their lives and their sacrifice is rarely acknowledged – why I do not know. It was not until recently that they were allowed to take part in the annual marches of remembrance and that is a great shame and unworthy of their memory.
It is often forgotten that unlike the Armed Forces, by today’s standards children – i.e. 16-year-old boys – were regularly employed as deck boys and cabin boys and these were amongst the losses.
It should also be mentioned that when their ships were sunk any survivors were immediately taken off pay until rescued and placed on another ship, until then they had to rely on charity.
So as you attend any of the marches or church services please give the fallen seafarers a thought and if possible ask the priest/vicar to mention their sacrifice. Unlike most the armed forces there were no graves for their loved ones to visit, for these brave men just the cold embrace of the cold sea as they have been quietly forgotten.