French navy brings a Gallic touch to Kilchattan Bay

A GROUP of French navy sailors brought a cosmopolitan touch to Kilchattan Bay on Monday afternoon.

Five crew members from the offshore patrol vessel Commandant L’Herminier, based in Brest, came ashore at around 1.30pm and proceeded to the village’s sub post office and tearoom for a cup of coffee and a break from their duties.

Having been alerted by Kingarth resident Paul McKay to the arrival in the bay of a navy vessel emitting unusual amounts of smoke, we headed south to see for ourselves, and caught up with the quintet just as they were plunging their cafetieres.

The group politely declined our request for a photograph, although their friendly and relaxed demeanour gave away no hint that anything was awry on board the ship.

The Commandant L’Herminier is one of nine members of the D’Estienne d’Orves class of Avisos, or sloops, still in operation; the class, all named after French heroes of the Second World War, originally numbered 17, though eight have since been decommissioned, and six of those were subsequently sold on to the Turkish navy.