The Red Duster The Merchant Navy Crest


A tribute to the British Merchant Navy - they also served!

The Ellerman Hall vessel ss CITY OF CAIRO torpedoed on 6th November 1942


The CITY OF CAIRO in peacetime livery

SS City of Cairo

Copyright © and courtesy of the Glasgow Archives

This is my tribute to my father Calum MacLean and all the passengers and crew of the ss CITY OF CAIRO. It is also a tribute to the men and women who served under the Red Duster during World War II and who were in the main forgotten despite their enormous contribution and sacrifice.

The Battle of the Atlantic began on the day that the war in Europe was declared and lasted until the day the war ended; this battle had in its forefront the men and women of the Allied Merchant Navy and without them we would have lost the war.

Courtesy of Paul Reed

Tower Hill Memorial

Lest We Forget
Tower Hill Memorial

When you stop to remember the fallen, remember, also, those from the Merchant Navy who gave their lives and have no grave but the sea. - "Lest We Forget".

The precursor to this site was many years of researching my father's service in the British Merchant Navy after his death in 1996. My father, like so many of his generation who saw service in World War II, never talked very much to his family about his experiences. He did say that he had been torpedoed and I knew that he had served aboard the CITY OF CAIRO. After reading the excellent book "Goodnight, sorry for sinking you": the story of the ss CITY OF CAIRO by Ralph Barker and published by Collins ISBN 0002164647, I decided to enquire further.

hall line colours

It is a sad fact that I never took the time to talk with my father about his time at sea despite us having so much in common. I have often questioned myself about this. I guess I assumed that he would always be around.

In all the research that I have carried out over the years especially on the Internet, I have been surprised to see so many other people who seem to be in a similar position: wishing that they could have made the time to gather all those memories, and now bitterly regretting not having done so.

I regret, therefore, that most of the material in this site has been researched directly by me by visiting the Public Records Office in Kew, London and indirectly by the use of other researchers, both on and off-line. To my everlasting disappointment, the main primary source that I failed to consult was my dear father.

I would also like to thank all those who contributed to the site with information, photos and access to written material. Please see Acknowledgement page.

I only wish Dad was here to tell me now.

"As you grow older, you'll find the only things you regret are the
things you didn't do

Zachary Scott (1914 - 1965)