Nel Brooks Artist
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Mick Avery

Portrait picture of Veteran Mick Avery Portrait picture of Veteran Mick Avery

Starting at the tender age of 16, Mick served in the Merchant Navy during World War II and was mainly on troupe ships that he had served on because victims of 'U'-boats.

Recognised for his maturity and intelligence at the age of 17, Mick was given sole responsibility for the procurement budget for his ship; a huge honour and responsibility.

During his time on several ships, Mick personally witnessed over his period of service the sinking of at least five ships in convoys he was in and the loss of thousands of troops and fellow seamen to wolf-pack submarines.

Our Merchant seamen were Britain's lifeline during the second world war and had some of our bravest sailors in their ranks. They faced not only the German Navy and Airforce of which they were the main targets but German battleships like the Bismarck whose main purpose was to stop supplies reaching UK shores as well as fleets of submarines who had the same agenda. In most cases, our Merchant ships were not armed to protect themselves and should their ships sink or a man go overboard, other ships were largely ordered not to go back or stop to pick up casualties, who, incidentally had their pay stopped immediately their ship sank or they were no longer on their ship!

In total, 30,248 Merchant seamen lost their lives keeping our supply lines going (keeping us fed and with vital supplies). This was a higher rate than the Royal Navy and Royal Airforce combined.

In 2006 The Merchant Navy WWII veterans were finally given permission to March past the Cenotaph in London at the Armistice Day Celebration along with those from the three branches of our armed forces.

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