The Royal Marines will be vi­tal to our se­cu­rity as a free-trad­ing na­tion

The Sunday Telegraph - - Letters to the editor -

SIR – We are an is­land race with a proud his­tory of in­de­pen­dence. To en­sure free trade, we need pro­tec­tion for our ex­ports and our im­ports. We need a Royal Navy, and we need the Royal Marines (re­port, Fe­bru­ary 4).

The dan­ger of piracy on the high seas is never far away. Not long ago we had the Cod Wars, when both the RN and RM were essen­tial to the pro­tec­tion of our fish­ing fleet.

Even to con­sider cut­ting any of our Armed Forces at this time is fool­hardy. They are the life in­sur­ance pol­icy of the na­tion. The more we put in now, the bet­ter the re­turn when they are needed. James Thomp­son

Sal­is­bury, Wilt­shire

SIR – There is an af­ter-din­ner Grace at­tributed, I be­lieve, to the Rt Rev Noël Jones, once Chap­lain of the Fleet and Archdea­con of the Royal Navy: We thank thee Lord for pork and beans But most of all for the Royal Marines. Com­man­der Peter Baseby RN (retd) Ken­ning­ton, Ox­ford­shire SIR – The world is chang­ing, and some meth­ods of war­fare have be­come re­dun­dant.

I would sug­gest that one of them is an as­sault from the air. Be­fore even think­ing about mak­ing the Royal Marines re­dun­dant, the pow­ers that be should first of all look at the Para­chute Reg­i­ment. Com­modore Kit Car­son RN

Swan­age, Dorset

SIR – As well as sup­port­ing moves to pro­tect the de­fence bud­get, I would go a step fur­ther. In­stead of scrap­ping HMS Ocean, the he­li­copter car­rier, give her a ma­jor re­fit as a spe­cial­ist dis­as­ter re­sponse ves­sel paid for and op­er­ated by the Depart­ment for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment.

While main­tain­ing her he­li­copters, she should be­come a hos­pi­tal ship, crewed by RN per­son­nel but with ad­di­tional spe­cial­ists such as medics, fire­fight­ers, res­cue ex­perts and en­gi­neers. She could then op­er­ate around the world, be­ing sta­tioned at trou­ble spots to pro­vide aid to refugees or close to the Car­ib­bean dur­ing the hur­ri­cane sea­son.

The Bri­tish pub­lic would see their aid bud­get put to use in tan­gi­ble terms, and Bri­tain could again make a real dif­fer­ence around the world. Richard Lutwyche

Cirences­ter, Glouces­ter­shire

SIR – We have an Army with sol­diers, planes and boats; we have a Royal Air Force with planes, boats and sen­tries, and we have a Royal Navy with sailors, planes and marines. They each have their own co­or­di­na­tors, bands, medics and re­cruit­ing of­fices, as well as top-heavy man­age­ment struc­tures based on wars fought years ago when we had very dif­fer­ent de­fence needs.

It must be time for the Gov­ern­ment to ra­tio­nalise these ac­tiv­i­ties into one fight­ing force. The sav­ings cre­ated would al­low us to put the right num­bers on the front line in planes, ships and tanks, leav­ing fewer peo­ple be­hind desks. Brian Tord­off

Chal­font St Giles, Buck­ing­shamshire

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