Sea Power & Victory

On 21st November 1918, under the terms of the Armistice agreement, the most powerful units of the German High Sea Fleet surrendered to Admiral Beatty, off the Firth of Forth. This was on land but that victory was only possible because of Allied command at sea. Only due to the ability to use the seas to keep the supplies maintained. In words of an Admiralty paper, the Navy and the merchant marine of supported in World War I had been the mainstay for the win in the battle at sea.

During the First World War, the merchant service suffered heavy losses from German U-boat attacks. A policy of unrestricted warfare meant that merchant seafarers were also at risk of attack from enemy ships. The tonnage lost to U-boats during the First World War was around 7,759,090 tons and around 14,661 merchant seafarers including LASCARS lost their lives. In honour of the sacrifice made by merchant seafarers during the First World War, King George V granted the title Merchant Navy to the service. The Prince of Wales was made the Master of the Merchant Navy.




In honour of the sacrifices made during the two World Wars, the Merchant Navy lays wreaths of Remembrance alongside the Armed Forces during the annual Remembrance Day service on 11th November. Following many years of lobbying to bring about official recognition of the sacrifices made by merchant seafarers in two world wars and since Merchant Navy Day became an official day of remembrance on 3rd September 2000.

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