Bamburgh Castle set to fly the flag for Merchant Navy Day

Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh Castle will be flying the Red Ensign on Sunday to mark Merchant Navy Day, a day set aside to honour the brave men and women who kept our island supplied during both world wars, as well as modern-day merchant seafarers.

In 1774, Bamburgh Castle became what was probably the world’s first coastguard station, operating a set of signals with flags and cannons to help protect shipping on the coast.

Set up by the Crewe Trustees they paid for men to patrol the beach in foul weather, sheltered ship wrecked sailors and lent out equipment to help owners salvage their goods.

In 1779, Dr John Sharpe, then responsible for the castle, commissioned Lionel Lukins to convert an east coast coble into an ‘unimmergible’ lifeboat, the first of its kind in the world and operated from Bamburgh to assist in saving the lives of merchant seamen.