While many people know that September 3 1939 marked the outbreak of the Second World War, few are aware that it also marks the first major British maritime casualty, the merchant vessel SS Athenia torpedoed just a few hours after hostilities were declared with the loss of 128 passengers and crew.
This date is now enshrined as Merchant Navy Day to honour the brave men and women who kept our island nation afloat during both World Wars, and even during peacetime faced - and continue to face - the routine perils of the sea.
To remember the sacrifices and salute the courage of the Merchant Navy, on September 3, Melton Borough Council will be flying the Red Ensign at Parkside which has been the recognised flag of the British Merchant Navy since 1984.
I would like anyone in our community involved with the Merchant Navy - families and veterans - who would be interested in participating in a short commemorative event on September 3, to contact me via the Mayor’s Office either by phone on (01664) 502314 or email Mayor@melton.gov.uk
Councillor Jeanne Douglas, Mayor of the Borough of Melton