A Fund to Help the Men of the Navy & the Merchant Marine
By Authority of the Department of Repatriation
[List of patrons. Includes H.E. The Governor-General The Rt. Hon Sir Ronald Munro Fergusson, P.C. G.C.M.G. and H.E. The Governor of N.S.W. Sir alter Davidson K.C.M.G. Not transcribed; see image for full list.]
Appeal for November 1.
What we Owe to the Navy.
Heroes of the Merchant Service.
Through blind seas in which the submarines are prowling, in the freezing sleet of northern oceans, day and night the work of the navy and the merchant ships goes on. Little is published about them. There could be no more splendid testimony of the British people's unfathomable trust in their Navy than this, that though the Navy wins a victory every day, scarcely one line in the newspapers, scarcely one word of official announcement is thought necessary to maintain the nation's security of mind. On every mile of sea the sailors cruise under "the meteor flag" and no German flag is visible.
Today all our sailors are fighters. From the smallest trawler to the most gigantic super-Dreadnought, the ships of the British Empire take part in the war. A tramp steamer methodically rams a submarine, and perhaps saves all lives on the crowded transport or hospital ship which follows on the same course. Nobody writes about that heroic incident; all that happens is that Hamburg or Ostend is left wondering why one more ocean rat has failed to come back to the hole.
So much has been done by the sailors, yet little has been done for them in return. In New South Wales we have had many days of appeal for the soldiers and the soldier's wife, and for each Ally in turn, but there has been no day for Jack. Jack has gone about his business. To hold life in one hand and death in the other has been part of his day's work from time immemorial. He has always been at war, if not with the Boche, then with the tempest.
But hours come in which Jack is hurt, or falls ill, or is killed. When death comes to him it comes swiftly; he has no headstone and no epitaph, only the whitening wave of the ocean and an immortal place in history. But, like other men, he leaves wife and children behind him. While he fights on the sea, they often suffer distress at home, and no loneliness is worse than theirs. If Jack is disabled, his wife and children face hard necessity.
The navy men and the merchant sailor are one and the same in their bravery at sea. Their women and children