THE considerable research I have conducted into the Hess affair here in Scotland, in German archives, and elsewhere leads me to cast serious doubts on the theories put forward by Tom McArthur and Peter Waddell (August 18).

The sugestion that Rudolf Hess was on board the Sunderland which crashed near Berriedale in August 1942 is a non-starter. I served at RAF Kinloss along with Andrew Jack, the sole survivor of the 15 men on board, and from my conversations with him about that incident I am certain that the Deputy Fuehrer was not one of the Sunderland's crew or passengers.

The idea that Hess arrived at Eaglesham on a different aircraft from the one that he flew out of Augusburg was debunked years ago. This rumour arose simply because his adjutant Karlheinz Pintsch photographed Hess flying a different Messerschmitt Bf110 while he was converting on to that type of aircraft and these photos were later erroneeously said to have been taken on May 10, 1941.

The idea of the real Hess being replaced for whatever reason by a double does not stand up to scrutiny. It is inconceivable that any Doppelganger could have sat between Goering and Ribbentrop on the defendants' benches at Nuremberg in 1946, a mere five years after Hess's defection from the German Government, without them recognising the deception. Photo- graphs exist showing them enjoying jokes together despite the circumstances.

It is even less likely that Hess's fellow prisoners in Spandau (especially Albert Speer with whom Hess was very close) and his wife Ilse Hess (who regularly visited him in Spandau) could have been taken in by an impostor.

With no axe to grind in the matter Speer said the assertion was ''ridiculous'' and Ilse Hess called it ''utter nonsense''.

I also find it difficult to believe the ''new'' findings have been derived from a box of documents bought at auction only last year. That clashes totally with the report in the Glasgow Herald on May 9, 1991, concerning a forthcoming book by the same two authors, dealing with these same old Hess Doppelganger theories.

It is a pity these writers are still wasting their time attempting to create mysteries where none exist rather than trying to determine the true purpose behind Hess's flight to Scotland and the intriguing means by which he proposed to achieve his aim.

James Allan,

11 George Street,

Cellardyke, Anstruther.