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War memorial restoration fund is both welcome and overdue

AS one who lost many relatives n the two world wars I am grateful to the SNP Government for establishing a fund to restore Scottish war memorials ("£1m fund to save memorials", The Herald, January 15).

In the two world wars Scotland made a military contribution greatly above her due and fair share having regard to the Scottish proportion of the British population.

In the First World War, out of 10 infantry battalions with the heaviest losses, six were Scottish regiments. At the Battle of Arras 38 Scottish battalions went over the parapets, a larger number than the whole British army at Waterloo.

While we widely acknowledge the contribution made by Scottish soldiers, Scottish seamen are seldom mentioned. In 1916 at the Battle of Jutland one of the major losses was the sinking of HMS Invincible. Killed on this ship were 11 naval reservists from Lewis. They were all ex-fishermen serving as gunners and their ages ranged from 18 to 50. In December 1939, proceedings in the House of Commons were halted in order that the Prime Minister could pay tribute to the gallantry of the crew of AMC Rawalpindi, whose heroic fight aroused the admiration of the world. Twelve of the gallant gunners on this ship were naval reservists from Lewis. Eight of them were killed and four became German prisoners.

Scottish seamen served with distinction on naval and merchant ships and on vessels from Empire countries and the United States. Let us hope that Scottish MPs and MSPs put aside their political differences when marking the centenary of the First World War.

Donald J MacLeod,

49 Woodcroft Avenue,

Bridge of Don,

Aberdeen.

THE refusal of the UK Government to permit the acceptance of the Ushakov Medal puzzles me greatly ("Veterans' medals vetoed", The Herald, January 15). I don't know what the rules are, but in the face of such suffering I appeal to the teaching that "man was not made for the Sabbath but the Sabbath for man". This decision can only shed an unfavourable light on many awards and honours conferred and sported in this country for merits and achievements that pale into insignificance in comparison. Perhaps an approach might be made to the Queen, citing her father King George VI's glorious gesture of conferring the Sword of Stalingrad on the people of Russia in Stalingrad.

Gordon Howie,

11 Shuttle Street,

Kilbarchan.

IT is with great surprise that I read of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's decree that veterans of the Arctic convoys would break the UK's rules by accepting medals from the Russian Government for what Winston Churchill described as "the worst journey in the world".

How dare this Government department in the sinecure of Whitehall deny medals to these brave men? They should be issued in spite of this order so that these journeys can be recognised for what they were.

John P Foxworthy,

15 Norfolk Crescent,

Bishopbriggs.

AS Dr T J Honeyman's biographer, I am appalled to find that the Kelvingrove Park memorial to this great Glaswegian has been vandalised yet again ("Dali buyer's memorial is vandalised", The Herald, January 16).

Dr Honeyman's daughter, the late Margaret Wilson, made regular calls to the city council on previous occasions but was not impressed by their reaction. The latest response from the council is a pretty woolly affair which would not have impressed her any more.

Neil Baxter refuses to blame the park authorities and says instead that the public have a role to play. But in this age of vandalism, what hope is there of that?

Dr Honeyman's acquisition of Salvador Dali's most famous painting for a mere £8200 certainly added greatly to the city's reputation. But the real catalyst for Glasgow becoming European City of Culture in 1990 was due to another of his connections – the Burrell Collection.

Sir William Burrell had intended to give that collection to either Edinburgh or London but was so impressed by Dr Honeyman's contribution to the life of Glasgow, not least as director of Kelvingrove Art Gallery, that he called him one day to say: "It's coming to Glasgow instead."

Jack Webster,

58 Netherhill Avenue,

Glasgow.

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