01 September 2023

Aberdeenshire Council raises the Red Ensign at Saltoun Square in Fraserburgh

The brave men and women who kept our island nation afloat during both World Wars have been remembered with the raising of the Red Ensign in Fraserburgh.

Aberdeenshire Council was honoured to raise the Red Ensign at Fraserburgh’s Saltoun Square today (Fri, Sept 1).

Attending the poignant event were Fraserburgh and District councillors together with representatives from Fraserburgh’s Lifeboat, Mission, Sea Cadets, Harbour Commissioners and The Salvation Army.

Josh Bruce of Fraserburgh RBL Pipe Band played ahead of the flag raising while Sarah-Jane Urmston of the Salvation Army performed the Last Post.

Chair of the Banff and Buchan Area Committee, Cllr Doreen Mair, addressed those present before Cllr Seamus Logan raised the flag.

Cllr Mair said: “In Fraserburgh the importance of the sea to our community and the safety of those who sail on it is very much to the forefront of our thoughts and embedded in our day to day lives. Sunday is Merchant Navy Day, which was established to remember those who kept our nation afloat during two world wars.

“I hope very much you will all support the campaign by The Seafarers’ Charity to remember the sacrifices of those seafarers of the past, salute their courage and support the present and future personnel of the Merchant Navy throughout our islands and the wider world.”

This north-east corner of coastline was known as hellfire corner during the war because of the danger posed to merchant shipping from enemy fire, so remembering those brave seaman in Fraserburgh is even more poignant.

Cllr Mair continued: “Too often they are the forgotten or invisible service. By raising the Red Ensign today we will ensure that at least, on this and the following days, they are remembered and saluted. This simple act will mean so much to the families of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, to those who have retired after a lifetime of service and to those who still go to sea now and face all its many perils.”

Merchant Navy Day is celebrated in September and also provides an opportunity to celebrate our dependence on modern day merchant seafarers who are responsible for 95% of the UK's imports, including half the food we eat, plenty of the fuel we burn and virtually all the products and goods we take for granted.

Affectionately known as the ‘Red Duster’, the Ensign has been the recognised flag of the UK Merchant Navy since 1854 and is flown at civic buildings and landmark flagpoles across the UK.