FT Letters, Time To Do Our Duty By Nelson

March 1, 2012


Admiral of note

From Mr Lester May.

Sir, The Bank of England has issued 14 different banknotes since 1980 and one of each of the four denominations remains in circulation. On the back, each depicts a character of note, reflecting the great history of our island nation, people such as Isaac Newton, Florence Nightingale, Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare.

While a small image of HMS Beagle appears on the back of the current £10 note depicting Charles Darwin, none has depicted a representative of the Senior Service. This omission is all the more surprising given that the Old Lady was set up in 1694 to supply money to the King for the rebuilding of the navy. The revitalised Royal Navy then went on to be the guarantor of the freedom of the seas and the safeguard for our trade, of which today well over 90 per cent still comes and goes by sea.

Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson is the obvious choice for a new banknote. The design should reflect both the victories of our premier naval hero and the merchant navy for, in 1804, Nelson wrote to the captain of HMS Argo: “I consider the protection of our trade the most essential service that can be performed”, a statement that is no less true today.

Lester May, London NW1, UK (Lieutenant-Commander RN – retired)
Thoroughly agree, though the choice of character will do little to embrace any of the political appeasement parties now in power and opposition. They alas only turn to service heroes when it suits their own political agendas, before apologising to any foreign nations for the underhanded way in which we won any battles.
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