The U boats lost 75% of crews but do not forget the death toll amongst the merchant navy. 35000 non combatant civilian merchant seamen died at sea.
An author wrote in 1942: "On two Sundays towards the end of January, I combed my six Sunday newspapers and failed to find a single word about the Merchant Navy". In addition 5000 merchant sailors were taken prisoner.
another: "The 30,000 men of the British Merchant Navy who fell victim to the U-boats between 1939 and 1945, the majority drowned or killed by exposure on the cruel North Atlantic sea, were quite as certainly front-line warriors as the guardsmen and fighter pilots to whom they ferried the necessities of combat. Neither they nor their American, Dutch, Norwegian or Greek fellow mariners wore uniform and few have any memorial. They stood nevertheless between the Wehrmacht and the domination of the world".
A sailor on board an escort ship wrote:
"We had great respect for the Merchant seamen. I think they were underestimated, especially now by the British public today, because they talk about the Battle of Britain. Granted the pilots did a marvellous, marvellous job, but when you stop and think, how did they get the fuel across to fly those planes, it was the Merchant seamen.....And, honestly, I think they're the bravest men out, the Merchant Navy."
Admiral Lord Mountevans wrote after the war:
"Those of us who have escorted convoys in either of the great wars can never forget the days and especially the nights spent in company with those slow-moving squadron of iron tramps - the wisps of smoke from their funnels, the phosphorescent wakes, the metallic clang of iron doors at the end of the night watches which told us that the Merchant Service firemen were coming up after four hours in the heated engine rooms, or boiler rooms, where they had run the gauntlet of torpedo or mine for perhaps half the years of the war. I remember so often thinking that those in the engine rooms, if they were torpedoed, would probably be drowned before they reached the engine room steps..."
Admiral Sir Percy Noble, who was the C in C Western Approaches wrote in 1941:
"For two hundred years, and more, these brave men, lacking the training and organisation that adapts their brothers in the Royal Navy so readily to the rigours of war, have, nevertheless, fashioned their own magnificent tradition. Day in, day out, night in, night out, they face to-day unflinchingly the dangers of the deep - the prowling U-boats. They know, these men, that the Battle of the Atlantic means wind and weather, cold and strain and fatigue, all in the face of a host of enemy craft above and below, awaiting the specific moment to send them to death. They have not even the mental relief of hoping for an enemy humane enough to rescue; nor the certainty of finding safe and sound those people and those things they love when they return to homes, which may have been bombed in their absence. When the Battle of the Atlantic is won, as won it will be, it will be these men and those who have escorted them whom we shall have to thank."
On the 30th October 1945 The House of Commons unanimously carried the following resolution:
"That the thanks of this House be accorded to the officers and men of the Merchant Navy for the steadfastness with which they maintained our stocks of food and materials; for their services in transporting men and munitions to all battles over all the seas, and for the gallantry with which, through a civilian service, they met and fought the constant attacks of the enemy." (But still the sailors had their pay stopped when sunk - edit: apparently this changed for the better back in 42 or 43?)
The Right Honourable Alfred Barnes, Minister of War Transport said :
"The Merchant Seaman never faltered. To him we owe our preservation and our very lives."