CLICK FOR: Ships and Shipping – Once upon a time, the British Merchant Navy was bigger than the rest of the world’s tonnage added together. Unfortunately, not so today. The reasons behind the decline of Britain’s merchant shipping are numerous and not a topic for consideration in this web site.
CLICK FOR: The Early Days – Our Merchant Navy really began to develop in the fifteenth century. As trade and commerce expanded the merchants of the day began to travel overseas looking for new products and new markets. The sixteenth century saw the voyages of exploration by famous Elizabethan seamen and navigators; famous names which included Francis Drake, Walter Raleigh and Martin Frobisher. We usually regard these men as historical heroes, but in many respects a lot of their exploits bordered on piracy. However, they set forth into the unknown in tiny ships and tribute must be paid to their bravery without which England would never have become a great sea power.
CLICK FOR: Days Of Sail – The purpose of our website is to record the history of the British Merchant Navy so that information about our maritime heritage is available for future generations. The centre stage of our website portrays the shipping companies and their ships but there are many aspects of the Merchant Navy which cannot be catalogued so specifically. ‘Did You Know’ sets out to record stories about the personalities and the ships that do not have another home.
CLICK FOR: Red Ensign Wikipedia – The Red Ensign or “Red Duster” is the civil ensign of the United Kingdom. It is one of the British Ensigns, and it is used either plain, or defaced with a badge or other emblem. It is the flag flown by British Merchant ships since 1707. Prior to 1707 an English red ensign and a Scottish red ensign were flown by the English and Scottish navies respectively. The precise date of the first appearance of these earlier red ensigns is not known, but surviving receipts indicate that the English navy was paying to have such flags sewn in the 1620s.