Page last updated at 20:54 GMT, Wednesday, 3 September 2008 21:54 UK

Tribute to Merchant Navy war dead

Merchant Navy Memorial
The Merchant Navy Memorial faces the western docks harbour entrance

A memorial to commemorate sailors killed on merchant ships in World War II has been unveiled in Dover.

The 3m (9.8ft) high sculpture was opened in Marine Parade by Winston Spencer Churchill, the grandson of Britain's wartime leader.

About 34,000 merchant seamen were killed or reported missing at sea.

Donald Hunter, the founder of the Dover and District Merchant Navy Memorial, raised 46,000 for the sculpture which depicts a merchant seaman.

The monument faces the western docks harbour entrance.

But for their courage and sacrifice... the history of the world would be totally different
Winston Spencer Churchill

Mr Hunter, who served in the merchant navy as a radio officer during the war, said: "I felt very angry that all those men, many of whom I saw perish, were just forgotten."

One in three of the merchant seamen who worked during the war never came home and 4,500 ships were lost.

Mr Churchill said: "But for their courage and sacrifice these islands would have been starved into submission and the history of the world would be totally different."

About 400 people attended the event at 1100 BST on Wednesday, 69 years to the day after the war began.

There was a parade of veterans' standards led by the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas prior to the unveiling ceremony.




SEE ALSO
Merchant veterans' role praised
02 Nov 06 |  Tayside and Central

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