Dear Editor,
Your comment about the naming of Royal Navy warships needs an answer. As you know, it is a Royal Navy tradition dating back about 400 years that ships that have been sunk or reached the end of an honourable life are replaced by their namesake. The Navy is much smaller now and the tradition cannot always be followed. Ships inheriting a venerable name are proud of the exploits of their forbears, and commemorate them, as they do the brave sailors who manned them and gave their lives for their country. There is no need to destroy tradition.

In four hundred years one can think of many leaders, who notorious in the time, one would certainly not want gracing the name of a proud warship. Also politicians do not always make the best icons. Does the Chilean navy, I wonder, have a ship named after Pinochet? We have not done badly with our traditions in the Royal Navy and are proud to stick by them. We serve our Queen and country not our politicians. When the government changes, we don't.

Yours sincerely,

Surgeon Captain G. Giri.OBE, Royal Navy

Editor's reply: Point taken Dr. Giri, but the Royal Navy did have a nuclear submarine called Churchill which was scrapped in the 1990s. Presently, there are no plans to “continue the tradition” with the Royal Navy's latest submarine called Astute. As you rightly say the Navy does follow tradition but sometimes government intervenes in the naming process. The modern Sheffield, Coventry and Ark Royal are all good examples.

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