The World War 1 memorial takes the form of a vaulted corridor, 21.5 metres long,7 metres wide and 7 to 10 metres high. Inside are 12 bronze plaques engraved with 12,000 names. It was opened by Queen Mary on the 12 December1928. The World War 11 memorial takes the form of a semi-circular sunken garden located behind the corridor, to its north. It contains the names of 24,000 British seamen and 50 Australian seamen, listed on the walls of the sunken garden. In the centre of the garden is a pool of bronze, engraved with a compass pointing north. The WW1 memorial was designed by Edwin Lutyens and the WW11 memorial by Edward Maufe.
Between the two memorials are two columns with statues representing an officer (western column) and a seaman (eastern column).
Over 14,661 Merchant Navy Men where lost during World War One.
Over 30,000 men of the British Merchant Navy were lost between 1939-1945.
For our Merchant sailors there was no phoney war that the people of Britain Lived through in those early days.
On September 3rd 1939, a few hours after war had been declared against Germany, the first shipping casualty occurred with the sinking of the Donaldson Line passenger ship, Athenia, and the loss of 112 passengers and crew. For almost six years there was barely a day went by without the loss of merchant ships and their crews.
The gratitude owed to these men is finally being recognized with the introduction of the 'Merchant Navy Day', designated the 3rd of September every year, the first was held in September 2000.