Sadly, the Merchant Navy was the forgotten service. None of the glory, more of the danger, (U-Boats/Enemy Raiders/Aircraft/Mines etc) due to their lack of speed, low defensive capability, atrocious weather and cargo of every kind imaginable. Ammunition, Oil, and other explosive/highly inflammable products, everything military, and everything else to support the military in all theatres of war as well as supplying the civilian populations with necessities. There are not even many "hollywood" attempts that show (to me) the terrifying situation of being awakened by a U-Boat's torpedo ripping through the ship, setting it ablaze and having to abandon ship through burning oil, getting onto a life raft, and waiting for rescue in days, weeks, months or never at all. Two of my favourites are "San Demetrio London" (1943) a "TRUE" story that shows the Dedication, Seamanship and Heroism of this crew with Ralph Michael, Mervyn Johns and a young Gordon Jackson. "Action in the North Atlantic" with Raymond Massey & Humphrey Bogart. When a merchant ship was sunk, the seaman’s pay stopped on the day of the sinking. He did not receive any more pay until he joined another ship. The seaman was given 30 days survivor’s leave, dated from the day his ship was sunk. This leave was unpaid. It only meant that he didn’t have to report back to the pool for 30 days. If he spent 10 or 15 days in a lifeboat, or on a life raft, that time in the boat was counted as survivor’s leave. There were many merchant seamen who joined the Navy because it was extremely short of experienced seamen. They joined under what were known as T124X and T124T agreements. These men were in naval uniforms on naval ships under the White Ensign, with naval officers and subject to naval discipline. They received naval rates of pay. At the end of the war, they were not allowed to claim any compensation or any benefits, because they were discharged as merchant seamen. The Unsung Heroes of the Sea by P Andrews. The Merchant Navy, as a Service, has no real way of displaying its capabilities. There is no compulsory wearing of uniforms, no street parades led by fine military bands, no pomp or ceremony of any sort to attract the general public or media. The only attention given to the Service is when some catastrophe or other occurs which raises the hackles of the conservationists, and this always seems to be to the detriment of the Merchant Navy. If a warship is lost, by conflict or by dereliction of duty, we never hear the last of it. If a merchant ship is lost you seldom hear of it. I wonder how many people would consult the Lloyds list of ships lost worldwide in a single year. It runs into hundreds -- ships both large and small, many of them with the loss of all hands and leaving no trace. Merchant ships of all sizes quietly come and go. They visit ports both large and small across the world, carrying the raw materials of trade, oil and petroleum products and the manufactured goods of industry. These ships journey to and from all countries, and have been doing so for millennia. It is, however, in times of conflict that the Merchant Navy finds itself an indispensable force within the framework of military operations, and even then for safety and security reasons, a low profile is maintained. In Memoriam Merchant Navy 1939-1945 No cross marks the place where now we lie What happened is known but to us You asked, and we gave our lives to protect Our land from the enemy curse No Flanders Field where poppies blow; No Gleaming Crosses, row on row; No Unnamed Tomb for all to see And pause -- and wonder who we might be The Sailors’ Valhalla is where we lie On the ocean bed, watching ships pass by Sailing in safety now thru’ the waves Often right over our sea-locked graves We ask you just to remember us. John Curtin, our (Australian) wartime Prime Minister, said of the merchant seaman: Whenever you see a man in the street wearing the distinctive MN badge, raise your hat to him because without these gallant men the war would be lost.