Today, the Bank of England begins issuing new polymer £20 banknotes, featuring Turner and The Fighting Temeraire, the ship herself famous for assisting Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, at the Battle of Trafalgar.

The Bank of England was founded in 1694 to help raise funds for the Navy.

At last, some recognition on a banknote of maritime Britain, albeit of a great ship towards the end of the Age of Sail, under tow in 1838 in the Thames at the beginning of the Age of Steam, nearing the Rotherhithe breakers’ yard.

Depicting the nation’s favourite painting, the banknote surely contains a message for HM Government and Britons.

The Royal Navy remains a bulwark for global Britain post-Brexit, for the defence of our islands and the UK’s 14 overseas territories.

Today, 95% by volume of UK trade is in merchant ships and protection of our business on the high seas remains paramount.

The imminent defence review will surely embrace Global Britain, worldwide relationships, partnerships and sea trade.

The obvious outcome is that the United Kingdom must pursue a maritime defence strategy.

This will mean the lion’s share of twenty-pound notes funding the Navy, while ensuring investment in cyber security and counter-terrorism.

Yours faithfully,

Lester May

(Lieutenant Commander, Royal Navy – retired)

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