Q-ships, also known as Q-boats, decoy vessels, special service ships, or mystery ships, were heavily armed merchant ships with concealed weaponry, designed to lure submarines into making surface attacks. This gave Q-ships the chance to open fire and sink them. The use of Q-ships contributed to the abandonment of cruiser rules restricting attacks on unarmed merchant ships and to the shift to unrestricted submarine warfare in the 20th century.
They were used by the British Royal Navy and the German Kaiserliche Marine during the First World War and by the RN, the Kriegsmarine and the United States Navy during the Second World War (1939–45). More on Q-ships
The Mary B Mitchell was a British and later an Irish schooner, affectionately known as Mary B.. She was a pleasure craft, a war hero, a working schooner, a film star and a transporter of essential cargoes in dangerous waters.
Built in 1892 she carried slate from Wales. In 1912 she was acquired by Lord Penrhyn and converted into a luxury yacht and spent two years cruising the Mediterranean. In April 1916, she was requisitioned as a Q-ship, she featured strongly in reports at the time, however no U-boats were actually damaged. In 1919 she joined the Arklow fleet and for the next dozen years she traded on the Irish Sea. She featured in a number of films. Mary B. was then retired. At the outbreak of World War II, she was brought out of retirement. Mary B. brought vital food to Britain and vital coal to Ireland. She travelled to Lisbon to collect American cargoes. In December 1944, she was wrecked in a storm. More on The Mary B Mitchell
Montague Dawson RMSA, FRSA (1890–1973) was a British painter who was renowned as a maritime artist. His most famous paintings depict sailing ships, usually clippers or warships of the 18th and 19th centuries. Montague was the son of a keen yachtsman and the grandson of the marine painter Henry Dawson (1811–1878), born in Chiswick, London. Much of his childhood was spent on Southampton Water where he was able to indulge his interest in the study of ships. For a brief period around 1910 Dawson worked for a commercial art studio in Bedford Row, London, but with the outbreak of the First World War he joined the Royal Navy. Whilst serving with the Navy in Falmouth he met Charles Napier Hemy (1841–1917), who considerably influenced his work. In 1924 Dawson was the official artist for an Expedition to the South Seas by the steam yacht St.George. During the expedition he provided illustrated reports to the Graphic magazine.
After the War, Dawson established himself as a professional marine artist, concentrating on historical subjects and portraits of deep-water sailing ships. During the Second World War, he was employed as a war artist. Dawson exhibited regularly at the Royal Society of Marine Artists, of which he became a member, from 1946 to 1964, and occasionally at the Royal Academy between 1917 and 1936. By the 1930s he was considered one of the greatest living marine artists, whose patrons included two American Presidents, Dwight D Eisenhower and Lyndon B Johnson, as well as the British Royal Family. Also in the 1930s, he moved to Milford-Upon-Sea in Hampshire, living there for many years. Dawson is noted for the strict accuracy in the nautical detail of his paintings which often sell for six figures.
The work of Montague Dawson is represented in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich and the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth. More on Montague Dawson
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