06 September 2019

Aberdeenshire Council raises the 'Red Ensign' at Saltoun Square, Fraserburgh

The brave men and women who kept our island nation afloat during both World Wars have been remembered today with the raising of the Red Ensign in Fraserburgh.

Since 2000, Merchant Navy Day has been celebrated in September and also provided an opportunity to celebrate our dependence on modern day merchant seafarers who are responsible for 95% of the UK's imports, including half the food we eat, plenty of the fuel we burn and virtually all the products and goods we take for granted.

Aberdeenshire Council was honoured to raise the Red Ensign at Fraserburgh’s Saltoun Square on Friday (Sep 6).

Attending the poignant event were all four Fraserburgh and District councillors together with the authority’s interim Banff and Buchan Area Manager Angela Keith.

Among those attending were Pat Davidson, depute in command of Fraserburgh Sea Cadets, Major Caroline Buchanan of the Salvation Army, John Strachan, assistant harbour superintendent at Fraserburgh Harbour.

Councillor Andy Kille, chair of the Banff and Buchan Area Committee addressed those present before Councillor Charles Buchan raised the flag.

Cllr Kille said: “Merchant Navy Day provides the perfect opportunity for us all to demonstrate our support and to give our sincere thanks to all those seafarers who have served our nation with such dedication since international trade began.

“Tragically, two World Wars claimed the lives of so many of those brave crews and by flying the Red Ensign we, in particular, remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“In remembering them, we also recognise the commitment and determination of many local men and women here in Fraserburgh today who serve in the Coastguard, the Royal National Lifeboat Institute and those who are called to the sea every day of their working lives.”

 During the ceremony, talented local piper Emily Duthie played a selection of tunes which were enjoyed by all who attended.

Affectionately known as the ‘Red Duster’, the Ensign has been the recognised flag of the UK Merchant Navy since 1854 and is flown at civic buildings and landmark flagpoles across the UK.

Stressing the importance of the flag-raising, the charity’s president, HRH The Earl of Wessex, said: “On this Merchant Navy Day, I very much hope you will support this campaign by Seafarers UK to remember the sacrifices, salute the courage and support the future of the often unsung personnel of our Merchant Navy.

“Too often they are the forgotten or invisible service. By raising the Red Ensign you will ensure that at least on this day they are remembered. Your act will mean so much to their families and to the retired, but most especially to those at sea.”