Shame on us all for not remembering the Merchant Navy

Dear editor,

Re Lack of recognition for the merchant navy.

After the service at the Cenotaph last Nov. 11, 2013, I wrote to both the Courtenay and Comox legions. In my letter, I requested that they include the merchant navy in their remembrance. I also offered any help that I could give.

I quoted that the Canadian merchant navy lost over 1,700 seamen. In the Second World War, the British merchant navy lost in excess of 30,000.

The merchant navy has served in all conflict, going far back in time.

In the Second World War,  they saw continuous action in the longest battle of the war; the Battle of the Atlantic.

Without them there would have been no Battle of Britain, or indeed other fronts around the world.

They risked life in tankers filled with high-octane fuel, ammunition, tanks and troop ships; not just for a day, but sometimes for months at sea – always aware of the U-boat, surface raiders, mines and enemy planes.

They also served on what Winston Churchill called ‘the worst highway in the world,’ the run to the Arctic and Russia.

In the words of that famous man: “If blood was the price we had to pay for our freedom,  then the men and women of the merchant navies, have paid in full.”

At one time, we were known as the Fourth Service. Somewhere along the way, it has changed to ‘The Forgotten Service.’

Once again, this was proven at this year’s Remembrance. Shame on us all.

Apologies to the Comox Legion, if indeed they did pay tribute to the merchant navy.

 

 

 

 

Dennis McGuckin

British merchant navy veteran

 

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