VETERANS marched through Newport city centre to the sound of bugle and drums in memory of sailors who lost their lives in conflict while serving with the Merchant Navy.

Around 100 people in military uniform marched from the Royal British Legion to Mariner’s Green, off Cardiff Road, some with the aid of a crutch or stick. People had travelled from across South Wales, Bristol and even Yorkshire to attend the service.

Father Edward Mathias-Jones, chaplain to the Merchant Navy Association, City of Newport branch, led the service on Saturday morning.

“In this 70th anniversary year of the Battle of the Atlantic spare a special thought for those 32,000 plus souls who were lost in what was ‘the longest action of World War Two’,” he said.

“Today we come together to remember those lost at sea and who entered your kingdom from a cold and watery grave. We ask that you keep them in eternal love.”

Newport Paul Flynn MP read Binyon’s Ode of Remembrance: “They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, not the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”

To which people replied “We will remember them.”

Standard bearers lowered their flags to the floor before Last Post was sounded and those present observed two minutes’ silence.

Jessica Morden MP read the Kohima Epitaph: “When you go home tell them of us and say/For your tomorrow we gave our today.”

Simon Boyle Esquire, Lord Lieutenant of Gwent and Murray MacFarlane Esquire, High Sheriff of Gwent, laid wreaths at the foot of the Merchant Seamen's Memorial, as well as many other dignitaries and representatives from other associations including Newport’s mayor Cliff Suller.

Alan Speight, chairman of the Newport Merchant Navy Association, said: “It went very well. It’s not a particularly nice day but we’ve had a good turn-out.”

Merchant Navy sailors who lost their lives in conflict have been honoured in this way in Newport for 16 years.