Merchant Navy flag raised above Nelson Town Hall

The flag of the Merchant Navy was proudly raised above Nelson Town Hall to remember the forgotten heroes of the service.

Guests at the service
Guests at the service

During the First World War, some 14,000 merchant sailors were lost, while in the Second World War that number rose to 30,000.

Today, the service still faces great problems - in 2019 41 large merchant vessels were lost, and over the last 18 months there have been 132 pirate attacks resulting in 85 crew members taken as hostages, kidnapped for ransom.

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AFSG chairman Michael Sutcliff said: "There are 62,100 merchant ships registered in the world, we in Britain have only 1,306 registered, while 50 years ago we had the world’s biggest merchant fleet.

"However, we still train the best officers for the Merchant Service, their training is known worldwide, which is why you will find British captains and deck officers on many foreign ships."

Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire Mrs Christiana Buchanan attended, while Deputy Mayor of Pendle Coun. Mohammed Sakib read the official notice from Prince Edward during the town hall ceremony.

They were supported by the Armed Forces Support Group, and Coun. Nadeem Ahmed, leader of Pendle Council, Mr Philip Mousdale, chief executive, and Mrs Fiona Standring, Mayor's Secretary.