Flying the Flag for the Merchant Navy

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Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust is flying the Red Ensign from its Main Gate today, 3 September, in support of Merchant Navy Day.

Merchant Navy Day – held on 3 September since its inception in 2000 – honours the brave men and women who kept our island nation afloat during both World Wars, and celebrates our modern day merchant seafarers who are responsible for 95 per cent of the UK’s imports, including half the food we eat.

During both World Wars, the ships and men of the Chatham Division of the Royal Navy worked tirelessly to support the Merchant Navy in its endeavour to keep supply routes open. Today, The Historic Dockyard Chatham is home to HMS Cavalier, open to the public and preserved as the National Destroyer Memorial in memory of the 142 destroyers and 11,000 men lost during the Second World War.

A new permanent exhibition ‘Keeping Britain Afloat’ – exploring the crucial role of protecting the Arctic Convoys and the survival of Britain during the war years through poignant first-hand accounts – is now open at The Historic Dockyard Chatham. The exhibition provides a snapshot of invaluable and extraordinary memories from over fifty veterans from the Second World War.

Their moving stories range from daring escapes to extreme survival and provide a glimpse of what life was like on convoy duty, helping to keep Britain afloat at a time when our very survival was threatened.  It delves into the fascinating and often moving history of the Second World War convoys and the involvement of the Chatham Port Division and Chatham Ratings in their protection.

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