A recent letter to the Economist brought up the idea of "Q Ships" as a means to combating the pirate menace off the Horn of Africa. Regardless of the practicality of the suggestion (which is limited, one suspects) I was sent off on a wave of nostalgia by the mere mention of these armed decoys.
When I was a small lad I was given a collection of adventure stories for a birthday or a Christmas. This book accompanied me just about everywhere (much to the chagrin of my dad: "We are on bloody holiday, get your nose out of that book look out the bloody window at the bloody scenery"). I wish I could remember the title or the publisher but I do recall that the collection contained all the usual suspects (climbing Aconcagua, the chicken switch, the fights of Jack Dempsey, the battle of Leyete Gulf, To Build a Fire, Churchill's escape from the Boers, and- oddly- The Pit and the Pendulum).
All of these stories were great but the one that inspired me most of all was the story of the Q Ships. Perhaps this was because my reading the story for the first time coincided with Mr T transforming broken vehicles into tanks on the A Team, or perhaps because I loved the pure justice of sneakiness countering stealth and restoring fairness to the ocean battle space, but I loved Q Ships. The letter in the Economist has thus inspired share the following link:
I'm looking for volunteers for the 'Panic Party'.