Fly the Red Duster

Birmingham’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Anne Underwood, will fly the Red Ensign – or ‘Red Duster’ as it is known – tomorrow at 10 am (Friday 1 September) outside the Council House in Victoria Square.

This will be in advance of Merchant Navy Day which raises awareness of the UK’s ongoing dependence on Merchant Navy seafarers.  The Lord Mayor will read a Message from HRH The Earl of Wessex before the flag is raised.

Merchant Navy Day takes place on 3 September, however it has been agreed that the Red Ensign will fly early in Birmingham this year as the local Merchant Navy Associations will be in London on Sunday at the national memorial.

Lord Mayor Cllr Anne Underwood will be joined by John Turner, Chairman and Standard Bearer of the Midlands Branch for the Merchant Navy Association, and others.

The Lord Mayor said: “Merchant Navy Day honours the brave men and women who lost their lives during both World Wars and celebrates contemporary merchant seafarers and their contribution to the economy.

“I am pleased to support the call from the Seafarer UK charity for the Red Ensign to be flown from civic buildings and landmark flagpoles across the UK.”

The charity’s president, HRH The Earl of Wessex, has endorsed the campaign, saying: “On this Merchant Navy Day, I very much hope you will support this campaign 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 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.”

Merchant Navy Day was first recognised on 3 September 2000.  Further information is available by visiting


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