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I am full of admiration for all those who took part in Operation Overlord and it is great to see those heroes still able to visit the beaches despite advancing years. May I also mention the huge support to the armed forces provided by the ships and men of the Merchant Navy of many countries - especially Great Britain - without whom it would have been difficult to mount such a complicated operation. Over the extended Overlord Operation many men from the MN paid with their lives and a large number of ships were lost. Ships involved in the operation ranged from large cargo and passengers ships to the more humble, but vital, tugs and support craft. It was a mammoth logistical operation, the likes  of which we will never see again, thank goodness. Heroes all.

 

Howard

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I was recently in the London Canal Museum looking at the 1944 report by C A Wilson, a GUC Engineer, which discussed the possible ways the canals in northern France could be destroyed by retreating Germans, and advising on how they could be re-instated.

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4 hours ago, howardang said:

I am full of admiration for all those who took part in Operation Overlord and it is great to see those heroes still able to visit the beaches despite advancing years. May I also mention the huge support to the armed forces provided by the ships and men of the Merchant Navy of many countries - especially Great Britain - without whom it would have been difficult to mount such a complicated operation. Over the extended Overlord Operation many men from the MN paid with their lives and a large number of ships were lost. Ships involved in the operation ranged from large cargo and passengers ships to the more humble, but vital, tugs and support craft. It was a mammoth logistical operation, the likes  of which we will never see again, thank goodness. Heroes all.

 

Howard

The highest loss of life as a percentage from any of the services was the MN during the entire conflict. 

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1 hour ago, mrsmelly said:

The highest loss of life as a percentage from any of the services was the MN during the entire conflict. 

Yes, but it's interesting quite how that is actually measured.

I've just found a source that suggests around 185,000 served in the Merchant Navy of which artound 37,000 perished, indicating maybe 20% were killed.

Bomber Command on the other hand it says  " 55,573 were killed out of a total of 125,000 aircrew, a 44.4% death rate. "

I suspect it's down to what you measure - if you look at just aircrew then Bomber Command looks a far worse prospect than the Merchant Navy, but maybe if you look at all serving with the RAF, to include all those who didn't fly, then the death rate may well be a lot less than the Merchant Navy.
 

I wouldn't have fancied doing either - we owe them a lot!

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2 minutes ago, alan_fincher said:

Yes, but it's interesting quite how that is actually measured.

I've just found a source that suggests around 185,000 served in the Merchant Navy of which artound 37,000 perished, indicating maybe 20% were killed.

Bomber Command on the other hand it says  " 55,573 were killed out of a total of 125,000 aircrew, a 44.4% death rate. "

I suspect it's down to what you measure - if you look at just aircrew then Bomber Command looks a far worse prospect than the Merchant Navy, but maybe if you look at all serving with the RAF, to include all those who didn't fly, then the death rate may well be a lot less than the Merchant Navy.
 

I wouldn't have fancied doing either - we owe them a lot!

You are correct in one way. Some members of the armed forces in specialist groups had a very high loss of life, but neverthe less as a percentage of all who served in the army, navy, or air force the merchant navy lost the most people. Yes I wouldnt have wanted any of it, havnt we all gone downhill ever since!! My old Dad was torpedoed and sunk in freezing waters off Canada and then went into Malta with the SS ohio with another convoy as part of Operation Pedestal, about as bad as it was possible to get, his brother on another ship in another convoy was blown to bits when a U boat torpedo hit them in the hold witch was filled with HE the ship sank very quickly with 3 survivors out of the 49 onboard. Just about everybody must have parents or I suppose grandparents involved in the thick of it.

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