Letter: Biggest isn't best

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Sir: When the leading ship of the United States Sixth Fleet sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar, shortly after the Cold War made its presence advisable, and made the signal, 'Greetings from the world's largest navy', a quick-thinking Royal Navy captain is supposed to have replied: 'Welcome from the world's best navy.'

The more cosmopolitan citizens of the US are only too willing to agree that their fellow countrymen are apt to confuse 'largest' with 'best'. However, it was with slight shock that, while watching television news, I heard a US senator bluntly claim the United States Army as the 'best the world has ever seen'.

Without wishing to rub in nasty place names such as Kasserine or Indo-China, one wonders what resurrected Roman Legionnaires, or still-living former members of the Wehrmacht, who fought at Stalingrad or in the Western Desert under Rommel, might have to say. Personally, I would be happy to put forward the British Army as a candidate, even today when it is somewhat small in its establishment.

Yours faithfully,


St Cyrus, Grampian

28 January