Many people today were out attending parades and services for Remembrance Sunday. Many (probably most) of these attendees and service goers are completely ignorant of the fact that the MN had greater wartime losses pro-rata then any of the military services. A fact glossed over by the Royal British Legion. All MN personnel were volunteers, unlike the military. Incidentally, it is only very recently that the RBL has even accepted MN personnel as members.
These same attendees will also be unaware that once a British MN sailor was shipwrecked through enemy action he went off pay until such time as he was able to restart work. If he was a POW for years, he was unpaid, his family received nothing. If he was killed, his family received no pension from the British Government. Unlike the Military.
You rarely see the MN represented at Remembrance Services, many of us will not go for the very reasons identified above. The whole thing sticks in our throats.
“The Tower Hill Memorial is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission war memorial on the south side of Trinity Square Gardens, in London, England. The memorial commemorates those from the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets who died during both world wars and have “no grave but the sea”. The memorial was designed by Edwin Lutyens with sculpture work by William Reid Dick, the Second World War extension was designed by Edward Maufe with sculpture work by Charles Wheeler.
The First World War memorial takes the form of a vaulted corridor, 21.5 metres long, 7 metres wide and 7 to 10 metres high. Inside are 12 bronze plaques engraved with 12,000 names. Those commemorated include Victoria Cross recipient, Archibald Bisset Smith.
The Second World War memorial takes the form of a semi-circular sunken garden located behind the corridor, to its north. It contains the names of 24,000 British seamen and 50 Australian seamen, listed on the walls of the sunken garden. In the centre of the garden is a pool of bronze, engraved with a compass pointing north. Between the two memorials are two columns with statues representing an officer (western column) and a seaman (eastern).
Not all Merchant Seamen who died during wartime, and have no known grave, are commemorated here – they may be commemorated elsewhere, for example, the Liverpool Naval Memorial.
The memorial was unveiled by Queen Mary on 12 December 1928 and the Second World War extension by Queen Elizabeth II on 5 November 1955.”