Charity Launches New, Online Resource for Former Mariners Who Suffer in Silence.
As the country comes together to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Atlantic this month - the longest continuous military campaign of the second world war - a Surrey care home which specializes in the care of former mariners has said too many veterans of both the Royal and Merchant Navy are prone to suffer in isolation during their twilight years, rather than seeking the specialist support often available to them.
With a number of national tributes taking place over the past year, including commemorative ceremonies for both the Battle of the Atlantic, the Arctic Convoys and 30th anniversary of the Falkland’s conflict, where among others, Royal Navy and Merchant seafarers risked and often sacrificed their lives at sea, The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society says it is the ideal time to remind former mariners and their dependants about the range of support available to them.
As part of the awareness drive, the care home, which welcomes seafarers and their dependants, has launched a ‘Seafarer Support’ section on its website at www.royalalfredseafarers.com, including helpful links to organizations that can provide information and assistance for seafarers.
These include the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society which provides financial support to seafarers; Sailine (Seafarers Advice and Information Line), a specialist telephone advice service for merchant seafarers, fishermen and their families and Trinity House which is dedicated to the safety, welfare and training of mariners.
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign of the Second World War, which resulted in one of the highest levels of human sacrifice during the entire conflict. From 1939-1945 between 30,000 and 40,000 Merchant Navy personnel were lost and over 5,000 ships and their cargoes sunk, together with many Royal Navy warship escorts and their sailors, who have no other grave but the cold North Atlantic.
Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt, Chief Executive of The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, said, “As we commemorate significant anniversary dates this year it is important to remember that life at sea, whether in conflict or not, can have a huge impact on seafarers in retirement and old age, which can be compounded if there is a lack of family or friendly support once back ashore.
“There are many organizations which provide excellent support for former mariners as well as likeminded companionship and it is important that they are aware of what’s available to them. To help, we have provided a section on our website, ‘seafarers support’ where people can find relevant organizations which are useful.
“Seafarers are often proud and independent and can be reluctant to access help especially when needed. We urge former mariners who are in need to visit our website and find out about the wide range of support available to them in the U.K. and Ireland.”