DRESDEN: PEOPLE are saying that the British are war criminals because of the the bombing of Dresden in 1945 (HAS, Feb 19).

What about the bombings of London, Coventry, Liverpool, Middlesbrough and Newton Aycliffe? What about what the Nazis did to the Jewish communities? Men, women and children were herded like cattle onto cramped trains to be taken to their deaths. They were shot in the streets in front of their loved ones, experimented on, and forced to degrade themselves.

Did we English do that to the people of Dresden? I think not. It was an act of war and until those who think differently wake up to the truth, the real horror of Nazi Germany will never be counted.

The Dresden loss of life was tragic, but what about the millions of Jewish lives lost? - Pamela Chapman, Bishop Auckland.


THE Royal Navy is to allow gays and lesbians to have married quarters and is planning to advertise for recruits in a gay publication called the Pink Paper.

For many years, The Northern Echo had a sister paper that was affectionately known as The Pink. It was football orientated but, judging by what Darlo fans scream at their players, The Pink would appear to have had strong gay and lesbian associations.

You can trust The Northern Echo family to be years ahead. - C Emmett, Darlington.


IN the last three years, Ferryhill Town Council has increased its levy by ten per cent, 9.3 per cent and, in this election this year, by 6.9 per cent. All these figures are way above the Government guidelines. Indeed, this year, Ferryhill has the distinction of being the only authority to exceed the Government maximum of 4.9 per cent.

The council has recently appointed a projects development officer on £18,000 per annum for a three-and-a-half day week.

I would have thought there was more pressing need for a financial advisor. - F Gibson, Ferryhill.

Shildon Town Council has managed to reduce its share of the burden on council tax payers by nearly ten per cent (Echo, Feb 10). Wouldn't it be nice if the two major names on the tax demands - Durham County and Sedgefield Borough - could do the same?

On the day the Echo reported Durham Police's impending financial shortfall (Feb 23), I noticed that they were also advertising job vacancies for staff at their sports facilities - so I assume that the chances of the police's tax take being reduced or even held at the same level are not very good.

Well done Shildon Town Council. What a shame you stand alone. - Paul Deakin, Shildon.


IS Ruth Parker (HAS Feb 22) in the real world? The Government has listened to the vast majority of people and acted to stop the barbaric practice of allowing deer, foxes, hares and other animals to be terrorised and ripped apart by dogs in the name of sport.

Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer stated compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character and it may be confidently asserted he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.

A scientific study in America confirmed that those people with a tendency to inflict suffering upon animals were far more inclined to be cruel to children than those who were compassionate towards animals.

May I also add that, although owning and racing greyhounds, I got my pleasure from watching greyhounds chasing a dummy hare and not watching a caught, and then released, live hare being chased and then torn to pieces. - R White, South Bank.

THERE is one simple way of ensuring that hunts obey the law. Remember the thousands of police - some mounted - used in 1984 to force miners to obey the law on picketing?

Surely the police could send a mounted officer out with every hunt to ensure the law is obeyed.

If the police show no enthusiasm for upholding the law of the land then chief constables should be held to account. After all, the police are public servants and the vast majority want hunting with dogs to cease, full stop. - Hugh Pender, Darlington.


YOUR photograph (Echo, Feb 22) showed the tailback of traffic on the A1 after a series of accidents due to the weather.

I wonder if any other reader noticed the traffic travelling in the opposite direction.

I refer, of course, to the halfwit driving the white van and how close he, or she, was to the car in front. Of course, the van could be being towed on a short rope. But I think I will stick to what I thought first, and that idiots like this should not be allowed on the road. - D Harrison, Darlington.


CT Riley (HAS, Feb 19) has an ill-informed view of the BNP.

Nowhere does its manifesto advocate mass murder of anyone. It wants to stop further immigration into this small over-populated island, which is being divided into more sections than the Balkans where religious divisions ignite the threat of civil war.

Does Mr Riley want the same situation building up here? The signs are already present when mullahs in mosques order their followers to become suicide bombers and martyrs. This is what is happening here now.

Mr Riley may wish to close his eyes to such facts of life in England now, but can he expect us all to do so? - Trevor Bell, Middlesbrough.


THIS year Easter is 'early'. It can be any time from March 22 to April 25.

The variation is pure guesswork for most of us. We usually find out when we buy a new diary or when we check out school holidays.

At the Council of Nicaea in 325AD or the Council of Whitby in 410AD, it was decided that Easter Sunday would be the first after the full moon following the Vernal (spring) Equinox.

Does this mean that the arrangement for calculation using the moon's orbit will forever decide Easter?

I realise that any revision would be quite an upheaval needing the agreement of the World Church, but I would be most interested to hear informed comment in this subject. - S Slowther, Darlington.


VAIN, selfish, manipulative and immoral would be my summing up of Diana, Princess of Wales (HAS, Feb 17), and I would add mentally unstable.

By her own admission she had more than three lovers even while still married. Goodness knows what her boys had to deal with at school as each new revelation was headlines in the paper.

Prince Charles did his duty and at a price. So let's wish him all the best with the lady he had been loyal to for so many years. He should forget about marrying in London and go to Wales, marry in Caernarfon Castle, which is not only a romantic and beautiful place but is already licensed for weddings.

And he should be king one day with Camilla beside him. - Ann Taylor, Thirsk.