SIR – Of the 73 incursions upon the shores of this sceptred isle what is probably unique about the John Paul Jones raid at Whitehaven, I believe, is that it is the only known “invasion” by a foreign power (America) that was eventually pardoned! (“John Paul Jones Raid Was Not the Last Invasion”, The Whitehaven News, August 8).

During the very first Whitehaven Maritime Festival in 1999, a ceremony was conducted on West Strand in the presence of the townspeople and a contingency of US marines whereby the Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners formally signed and sealed a Proclamation declaring their “...desire to pardon the act of gross aggression perpetrated upon the said town and harbour of Whitehaven by a proclaimed citizen of the United States of America namely one JOHN PAUL JONES under commission of the newly formed Congressional Navy of America who in the early hours of the morn of the 23rd April 1778 ..... did attempt to wreak havoc upon the moored shipping in the said harbour...”

The Proclamation further states: “We, the Commissioners... do hereby grant and confirm to the said US of America full right and liberty in perpetuity for one man-o’-war commissioned in the navy of the US in each calendar year following this proclamation to enter into, moor, berth or anchor within the confines of the harbour of Whitehaven without recourse to levies or dues...”

For the 2001 Whitehaven Maritime Festival the US Navy exercised that right by despatching the guided missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf direct from Norfolk Virginia to Whitehaven.

The Proclamation, in triplicate, can be viewed at the US Naval Academy Annapolis, Maryland – where the crypt containing the remains of John Paul Jones lay – also at The Beacon Whitehaven and in the offices of Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners.

Capt. David ALLAN (Rtd.)

Former Harbour Master

Moresby Parks, Whitehaven