National Lost Trawlermen’s Memorial Day

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:31 pm on 13th December 2021.

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Photo of Robert Courts Robert Courts Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 9:31 pm, 13th December 2021

I warmly congratulate Karl Turner on securing this important debate on the creation of a national Lost Trawlermen’s Memorial Day. Fishing and the courage of fishermen are woven deep into the fabric of this nation. Perhaps too few are truly aware of the dangers that fishermen face to put food on our plates, or of their place in our maritime history, serving our nation in peace and war to keep this country fed and protected.

I was particularly struck by the hon. Gentleman’s speech. More than 6,000 fishermen from Hull have lost their lives in the past 100 years, either through fishing tragedies or when their vessels were engaged in wartime service. More than 1,200 fishermen working from Hull died in the first world war; 300 Hull ships were used as minesweepers and for searching for submarines, and by the end of the war, only 91 Hull-owned ships were still afloat. Between 1939 and 1945, 191 trawlers from Hull were taken into military service, and 96 of them were lost. My hon. Friend Lia Nici is right to say that this sacrifice and this service are nowhere near well enough publicised. The work of the Royal Naval Patrol Service and others ought to be remembered by all of us in this House and across the nation.