The Merchant Navy Memorial at Tower Hill, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens (Photo: Centenary News)

Lusitania Centenary to be marked at UK Merchant Navy Day service

Posted on on 23 August 2015
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The sinking of the Lusitania during the First World War will be remembered at the annual Merchant Navy Day service in London on September 6th 2015.

The multi-faith commemoration takes place at the Merchant Navy Memorial at Tower Hill. 

Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the original monument was opened by Queen Mary in 1928 in tribute to 12,000 WW1 merchant seafarers who have no known grave but the sea.

That same year, King George V decreed that Britain's mercantile marine should be known as the Merchant Navy in recognition of its sacrifice during the Great War.

A later extension commemorates almost 24,000 casualties of the Second World War.

The annual remembrance service, organised by the Merchant Navy Association, includes a different first-hand account each year of an action involving a ship and its crew named on the walls of the memorial.

Names of Lusitania crew members who have no known grave but the sea (Photo: Centenary News)

The 2015 reading will be about the loss of the Cunard flagship, RMS Lusitania, torpedoed off the Irish coast on May 7th 1915 with the loss of 1,200 lives.

Representatives of Commonwealth countries, the Royal Navy and seafaring charities take part in the service. A 'Sea of Remembrance', formed of miniature Red Ensigns (the flag of the Merchant Navy), is planted by the Sailors' Society.

The public are welcome to attend. 

Merchant Navy Day is marked in Britain on September 3rd each year, the anniversary of the start of the Second World War. All local authorities in the UK are being urged to show their support in 2015 by flying the Red Ensign.

The remembrance service at the Merchant Navy Memorial, close to the Tower of London, is traditionally held on the first Sunday after September 3rd. 

The 2015 event starts at 12.30pm on September 6th. More details can be found here

Source: Merchant Navy Association

Images: Centenary News

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News