June 17, 2024

Merchant Navy Day commemorated

During the Second World War, thousands of New Zealand seafarers volunteered to serve in the Merchant Navy

They sailed shipments of fuel, food and other essential supplies across the world, and delivered troops and military equipment where they were needed.

The work was important and extremely dangerous. 4,700 Allied merchant ships were sunk during the conflict, and 30,000 Allied merchant seamen lost their lives.

This included New Zealand ships like the Turakina and the Limerick, and at least 140 Kiwi merchant seafarers were killed with a similar number taken prisoner.

The Merchant Navy faced greater danger than any other group of New Zealand civilians. Their sacrifice and heroism will be remembered forever.

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