Cumbria County Council is showing its support for Merchant Navy Day by flying the Red Ensign flag at County Offices.

The flag will be flying at the offices in Kendal, Cumbria House, Carlisle; and the Port of Workington today and over the weekend.

The 3 September 1939 marked the outbreak of the Second World War and also marked the first major British maritime casualty, the merchant vessel SS Athenia, torpedoed just a few hours after hostilities were declared.

This day later became enshrined as Merchant Navy Day to honour the bravery of those during both World Wars, and to raise awareness of the UK’s ongoing dependence on Merchant Navy seafarers.

The County Council is supporting the nationwide call from the Seafarers UK Charity and the Merchant Navy Association for the UK Merchant Navy’s official flag to be flown on public buildings and landmarks.

The Red Ensign, also known as the Red Duster, is being flown from flag poles at County Offices and Cumbria House, as well as at the Port of Workington using a Liebherr crane.

The Port of Workington, owned and operated by Cumbria County Council, has an operational area of approximately 50 acres, handling up to 500,000 tonnes of cargo per year including dry bulk, liquid bulk, renewable energy, project cargo, forest products and containers.

Chairman of Cumbria County Council, Councillor Andy Connell, said: “Merchant Navy Day is a great way to show our appreciation of the servicemen and women who kept our 'Island Nation' afloat during both World Wars and a wonderful opportunity for the nation to show its support for those who continue to serve their country at sea.

"Cumbria County Council is proud to be flying the flag.”

Cabinet Member and Armed Forces Portfolio Holder, Councillor Celia Tibble, added: “I am delighted that we are supporting Merchant Navy Day again and have been able to organise for the Red Ensign to be flown from the Port of Workington again this year.

"It is the largest port in Cumbria and one of the main hubs in the North West of England, so to fly a flag there is a great way for us to honour and celebrate our dependence on modern day merchant seafarers who are responsible for 90% of the UK's imports, including much of the food we eat, most of the fuel we burn and other imports.”