Ipswich: Ambitious plan revealed to honour merchant seamen on Waterfront

The Ipswich Branch of the Merchant Navy Association who are fundraising to erect a memorial to merch

The Ipswich Branch of the Merchant Navy Association who are fundraising to erect a memorial to merchant Seamen who died in two world wars. - Credit: Archant

Merchant navy memorial plan for waterfront

And today, bosses at the Ipswich branch of the Merchant Navy Association have revealed an ambitious plan to erect a memorial on the waterfront in honour of their sacrifice.

Proposals have been sent in to planning chiefs at the borough council for the monument, which it is hoped will be situated on the Orwell Quay.

The chairman of the association, Captain Geoff Hartgrove, 72, said: “We are a relatively new branch and one of the first things that we discussed was why there was no memorial to the 62,000 merchant seamen who lost their lives in the two world wars.

“Ipswich was very important but there was no memorial placed to those merchant seamen.

“Not all of them came from Ipswich but quite a lot did and we thought we ought to do something about it so that is what we have done.”

The group’s decision has come after veterans of the arctic convoys were finally awarded medals for their missions to the Soviet Union, of which merchant seamen played a vital role in transporting goods.

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The group believe they will need to raise about £13,000 for the memorial if it gets the go ahead – with £3,000 of that already being raised.

Cpt Hartgrove, who served in the merchant navy for eight years, added: “It really comes home to you when you go to places like Birmingham where there is a memorial to merchant seamen but it is so far away from the sea.

“I am very optimistic that this will happen.

“There should be a memorial, there’s no doubt about that. Not one person has stood up and said it is a bad idea.”

The group hope to find out more about whether or not their application has been successful by the end of the week.