Naval gazing

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VARIOUS statements have ­appeared in the press recently concerning the effect of Scottish independence on the building of navy vessels in Scottish shipyards (Letters, 28 November).

Commentators seem unable to grasp that the Royal Navy is not an English force but a British one, so Scotland has a considerable stake in it and should have a strong voice in any procurement policies until independence. A necessary preliminary to independence would have to be an assessment of the proportion of the navy’s assets and, ­indeed, those of many other British ­institutions, which should be ­apportioned to Scotland.

Peter M Dryburgh

Newbattle Terrace


WHILE I share the disappointment of Thomas Burgess (Letters, 28 November) that four supply ships for the Royal Navy are being built in Korea, they are not warships, however the definition might be stretched.

Uniquely, the Royal Navy’s supply ships and oilers are operated by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), which is part of the Merchant Navy, although their ships wear the Blue Ensign rather than the Red Ensign.

In recent years, ships of the RFA have often had regular Royal Navy personnel aboard to operate anti-submarine helicopters and surface-to-air missiles, but this does not make them warships, rather it is a return to the days when merchant vessels were often armed.


South Queensferry