No, Helen Mirren's academy award hasn't been thrown overboard, but London's favourite battleship, HMS Belfast, has lost Oscar - one of its two cats. We're keeping our hopes alive that the ginger moggy hasn't drowned as he apparently tried in vain to find the other ship's cat, 'Kilo'.
History is on Oscar's side. During World War II, the German warship Bismark sank to the ocean floor and took almost 2,000 men with it. But Oscar, the ship's cat, was rescued by HMS Cossack. The British ship was then itself torpedoed a few months later, with the loss of 159 lives - but again Oscar escaped and found his way onto HMS Ark Royal. The aircraft carrier sank days later - but yet again Oscar thwarted death. His unsinkability didn't seem to rub off on any of his ships, so in a wise move he was sent to Belfast to spend the rest of his days on land. His portrait still hangs in our very own National Maritime Museum - http://www.nmm.ac.uk - if you're interested.
Anyway, we digress - if you see the modern-day Oscar, please contact 020 7940 6321 or take him to the HMS Belfast shop. You might even get a free show-round by a grateful sailor. (And we don't hear that often enough in London, we think).
Pic provided by HMS Belfast