Officers of the French navy have mounted a campaign to stop the English from burning Joan of Arc a second time. The Joan in question is the Jeanne-d'Arc, a 13,000-ton helicopter carrier and naval training ship which is due to be de-commissioned and dismantled.
Although no decision has yet been made, the probability is that the 45-year-old vessel will share the fate of the French aircraft carrier, the Clemenceau, which is being dismantled by a specialist scrapyard, Able UK, on Teesside.
According to the newspaper Le Monde, the French naval top brass has been bombarded with messages from naval officers demanding that the Jeanne should not be "martyrised" or "burned a second time" by "les Anglais".
Vice-admiral Hubert Jouout, in charge of scrapping redundant warships, said: "The English are Europeans and have the same values as us but, occasionally, just like in sporting contests, a certain kind of [French] national pride manifests itself [against them]."