MEMBERS of the public joined community councillors, Torfaen County Borough councillors and veterans to the council’s flag hoisting ceremony on Tuesday to commemorate Merchant Navy Day outside the Council House in Cwmbran.

The Red Ensign, the Merchant Navy’s official flag, was raised outside the Council House.

Councillor Anthony Bird, chairman of Cwmbran Community Council, welcomed Rev Elizabeth Kerl of Cwmbran Benefice to help officiate the ceremony.

Cllr Bird and Rev Kerl also used the occasion to acknowledge the 80th anniversary of the start of the Second World War.

In the First World War, nearly 15,000 merchant sailors died aboard their vessels, which were prized targets for German submarines and during the Second World War, more than 29,000 merchant seamen died.

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(Cllr Anthony Bird and Rev Elizabeth Kerl at the Merchant Navy Day flag raising ceremony in Cwmbran. Picture: Cwmbran Community Council)

Cllr Bird said: “On this the anniversary of Britain’s Deceleration of War with Nazi Germany, it is only right and proper that we pay tribute to the hard-working men and women who have made up our Merchant Navy over the nearly two centuries of its existence.

“The Red Ensign standard has been a banner of hope to many, carrying blankets, food, medicine and sometimes just a taste of home.

“Cwmbran has a proud tradition of citizens who have given their all to serve our country and as head of this council I am proud of our track record in honouring veterans from all branches of the service.”