The final consequences of failure.

A report in The Australian published on 8 December describes ‘a purge’ of the Royal Navy’s senior leadership over the embarrassment caused by the ‘fiasco’ when 15 sailors and marines were captured by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on 23 March 2008. Defence writer Michael Smith described the event and its aftermath as “one of the biggest humiliations to befall the navy since the failure of Admiral John Byng to relieve Minorca in 1756.” Smith adds, “He was executed for his incompetence.”

Despite PM Tony Blair’s assurances that there would not be a witch hunt, Vice-Admiral Charles Style, Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff, Vice-Admiral Sir Adrian Johns, Second Sea Lord, the Commanding Officer of HMS Richmond, and a senior civilian public affairs official (both unnamed in the report) have all been quietly “removed from their jobs” and have “departed.” It is unclear whether they have been released from the service, or merely reassigned to other posts.