Calling all Merchant Navy officers for Remembrance Sunday parade

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The title Merchant Navy was granted by King George V after the First World War to recognise the contribution made by civilian merchant sailors who manned cargo ships to keep vital supply lines open.

At the outbreak of World War Two in 1939, the British merchant fleet was the largest in the world. A third of the world’s merchant ships were British, and there were some 200,000 sailors.

During that war, the Merchant Navy again kept the country supplied with raw materials, arms, ammunition, fuel, food and other necessities, literally enabling the country to defend itself.

In doing this, they sustained a considerably greater casualty rate than almost every other branch of the armed services, and suffered great hardship. 

Now, former officer Brian Bissell is trying to recruit officers to join the ceremony on Sunday November 10.

He said: “To honour these brave men and women, we have been parading for many, many years.

“This year we will again remember the great number of officers and crew from the Merchant Navy who gave their lives in both wars so that we may enjoy the freedom we have today.”

Mr Bissell entered the Merchant Navy as a navigating apprentice with the Royal Mail Lines. He became a Cunard Line deck officer and a Midshipman with the Royal Naval Reserve.

He added: “Through the years our contingents’ ranks have swelled and depleted and, again this year, we are looking for former officers to join us. 

“We consider it a privilege and an honour to
be able to march on parade on Remembrance Sunday.”


If you would like to join the Merchant Navy officers on Remembrance Sunday, please contact Mr Bissell on 07710 612173

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