A thanksgiving service was yesterday held in Sinclair Seamen’s Presbyterian Church in Belfast to remember all Merchant Navy men who were lost at sea.
More than 150 people attended the 11am service at the Corporation Street church which was led by Rev Robert Stirling.
Captain Eric Dunwoody, who attended the service, said: “It was a thanksgiving for all those who were lost at sea. It is held in conjunction with the Merchant Navy Association.
“During the ceremony Rev Stirling spoke about the ways of the sea, on which we all worked.”
Captain Dunwoody, who had several roles in the Merchant Navy, the last as a marine pilot in Belfast for 31 years, said the service “is a very special day for everyone connected with the sea”.
“It doesn’t seem to be a well-known fact, but the Merchant Navy lost more members in the last war than any of the other services, particularly in the north Atlantic with the U-boats.
“The service is also an occasion for people to meet up again, who perhaps have not seen each other for the last year.”
Captain Dunwoody added that during the service the Merchant Navy standard was paraded and a wreath was laid in memory of those who perished at sea.
Chairman of the Merchant Navy Association in Belfast, John Coulter, said that the service “reminds us of those who were lost”.
Mr Coulter, 85, said tomorrow [September 3] is Merchant Navy Day worldwide.
“On Tuesday the flag of the Merchant Navy will fly from Belfast City Hall from sunrise to sunset in memory of those lost at sea,” he said.
“It is our tradition to hold our remembrance service the Sunday before that.”
Sinclair Seamen’s Presbyterian Church, which dates back to 1857, was refurbished on a maritime theme. It is a gleaming tribute to the city’s seafaring traditions.