Buckingham flies the flag to commemorate the Merchant Navy

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The Red Ensign flag will watch over the town this weekend, after it was raised in a small ceremony to commemorate Merchant Navy Day.

The mayor of Buckingham, Jon Harvey, raised the standard, which is red and features a Union Jack in its corner, on September 1, so that it would be flying during the official celebration on September 3.

He told the crowd: “Let us never forget the people who work hard to provide us with the food, energy and safety that we all need, especially this weekend: our merchant seafarers, past and present.”

Speaking after the flag was hoisted, he continued: “This was my first flag-raising and it was actually very moving. It’s a real, but ordinary story, of the tragedy that is war.”

The mayor quoted Winston Churchill in saying: “Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war.”

The ceremony was attended by a host of residents, town councillors, and those from the town with connections to the Merchant Navy.

One of whom, Mrs Susan Cox, attended to represent her mother, whose letter commemorating her brother, a Merchant Navy serviceman, was read during the ceremony.

Mr Swift, known as Jack, served in the Merchant Navy as a ship’s carpenter and was killed in a torpedo attack off the coast of Ireland, during World War Two,

Mrs Cox said: “My mother will be so pleased as she’s never really forgotten him. The Merchant Navy has been such a big part of our lives.”

“I’m very glad the mayor could read [the letter], and commemorate one of the thousands of men that died.”

The town crier Russell Cross loudly initiated the ceremony, held outside the community centre in Cornwall Meadows.

Merchant Navy day will be commemorated across the country, at over 400 locations. For more information, head to www.seafarers.uk/campaigning/merchant-navy-day