THE Dutch last night claimed responsibility for setting fire to the Scottish-built Cutty Sark and warned that no Scots ships were safe during the war with Holland.
Colonel Dik Van Possellink, of the elite 1st Edamers Airborne Division, said his men had torched the historic clipper ship to ensure it played no part in any Scots invasion force.
He said both the Discovery in Dundee and the Britannia at Leith would face similar attacks, and he warned elderly American tourists to stay clear of the Waverley and the Sir Walter Scott this summer saying both were “legitimate military targets”.
Michael J. Bilge, Commander RN Rtd. (HMS Ewing 1965-68), said the loss of the Cutty Sark was a major blow to Scottish preparations for the invasion of the Netherlands.
He said: “Without the Cutty Sark the Scottish Navy really is just the Discovery and Britannia, neither of which have been used in amphibious assaults before.
“If the Scots cannot muster an invasion fleet soon I fear the Dutch coast will be impregnable to invasion; already most of it is protected by a line of enormous dykes.”
First Minister, and commander in chief of the Scottish forces, Alex Salmond was contemptuous of this latest example of the Dutch’s flagrant disregard for the rules of war.
He said: “The Cutty Sark posed no immediate threat to the Dutch Navy, indeed it posed no immediate threat to any navy as it had a bloody great hole in the bottom.
“This is an act of wanton vandalism by a nation of whose main knowledge of the techniques of modern warfare is limited to being overrun and surrendering.”
Dirk Van Poomf, spokesman for the Dutch consulate in Edinburgh, said the successful assault on the Cutty Sark proved that his nation’s relaxed view of homosexuality in the army was not incompatible with successful sneak assaults.
He said: “This just shows that men who love men and men who love women can together form an effective fighting force. As we say in Holland, inside every Dutch homosexual there is a soldier, or there has been, and vice versa.”