Remembering Merchant Navy Day, 3rd September at VOS
The Merchant Navy (MN) holds a special place in the heart of Veterans Outreach Support (VOS), with the charity supporting MN veterans alongside those of the UK Armed Forces, in recognition of the key role played by MN seafarers across the years, especially as this vital group of mariners have not always got the praise they deserve for putting themselves in harm’s way. The founders of VOS decided to include MN veterans as beneficiaries when the charity was set up almost 15 years ago, in recognition of the vital role the Merchant Navy played in the Falklands War in 1982 – an operation that simply could not have been mounted without the support of those working under the Red Ensign.
As we approach Merchant Navy Day on 3rd September, 2022, we asked one of our own Merchant Navy veteran volunteers, Tony Hudson, what the day means to him. Here’s what he said:
“This time of year is one that I reflect on as an ex Merchant Navy engineering officer (electrical) and I’ve been asked to write a brief blog regarding this day.
I left the Merchant Navy many years ago now, having signed up in 1974. However, I have not lost touch with the service. When I retired in 2019, I was aware from a friend about VOS and all the good work they do. They not only welcome and support the three armed services, they also embrace past and present Merchant Navy personnel. I have now been volunteering with VOS for three years and I would like to think I have supported many service users that have come to us for help and advice.
Those that have sailed under the Red Ensign is a service that is not always associated with conflict or suffering. However, from the North Atlantic and Arctic convoys of WW2 to disaster relief duties around the world, and of course the Falklands conflict, Merchant Navy sailors (both men and women) have served without question and indeed have given their life to this end.
The armed navies of the world are kept operational at sea by MN crew on support ships that sail alongside. Let us not forget that every modern day electrical device, cars, medical and service equipment was probably shipped across the world in all sea conditions to make our lives better. At this time take a moment to reflect on how all our lives are dependent on the merchant fleets around the world.
Organisations such as VOS are there for the good and desperate times for all of our seafarers. Let’s just remember, even for a few moments, our Merchant Navy colleagues on the 3rd September.”
If you’re a veteran from the UK Armed Forces or the Merchant Navy (from any time of service) or a partner to one, VOS would love for you to join our community. We are here to offer our support: call us on 02392 731 767, visit an upcoming drop-in, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.