Liverpool will mark Merchant Navy Day on Sunday 6 September with a special service and wreath-laying ceremony.
The annual celebration raises awareness of past, present and future Merchant Navy seafarers and also remembers the 36,000 men who died at sea during World War Two.
A public service of celebration will take place in the grounds of Liverpool Parish Church in the city centre from midday. As well as commemorating the history of the Merchant Navy, there will be a focus on seafarers today, and in particular their role during the Covid-19 pandemic.
John Wilson, CEO of the Liverpool Seafarers’ Centre, will speak to the congregation about life on board for mariners who have kept cargo moving in and out of the Port of Liverpool.
Also in attendance will be civic dignitaries from across the city region, including the Lord Mayor of Liverpool Councillor Anna Rothery, along with current and retired seafarers, as well as others who represent the work of the Merchant Navy today.
Traditionally, a procession to the Merchant Navy memorial located at the Pier Head would form part of the commemorations. This will not take place this year, and instead civic dignitaries will take part in a private act of remembrance and wreath-laying immediately after the service. Liverpool’s Lord Mayor will also lay a wreath in Falkner Square at the black merchant seaman war memorial.
The service at the church starts at midday and all those with a connection to Liverpool’s maritime community are welcome to attend and are asked to wear face coverings if possible. Throughout the service, social distancing will be in place, hand sanitizer will be available and contact details will be taken to enable the track-and-trace system if necessary.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Anna Rothery said: “I am honoured to represent Liverpool as we remember the sacrifices made by many thousands of seafarers who supported the fight for our freedom.
“This year we are having to do things differently, but I’m pleased we still have the chance to come together safely and reflect on the vital role the merchant navy played, and continue to play, in our lives.”
The Rector of Liverpool, the Reverend Canon Dr Crispin Pailing, who will lead the service, said: “The last few months have been challenging for everyone, but essential supplies and much of the food in our shops, are there thanks to the work of the merchant navy.
“We continue to commemorate those who have served in conflict, but we must give thanks as well for today’s seafarers who are supporting the nation through its greatest challenge for a generation. The future of this city continues to be the door we hold open for those who arrive on the banks of the mersey.”