Having a cat aboard a ship is good luck, they say. It’s certainly good for keeping vermin under control lest they endanger precious food supplies. Some ship’s cats were so well-known or beloved that they are part of history. Blackie, renamed Churchill, became famous not because he did his job well (which he did), but because he charmed the Prime Minister.
Blackie was the ship's cat of the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales. In August of 1941, the ship conveyed British PM Winston Churchill to Newfoundland for the Atlantic Charter conference with FDR. As Blackie ambled over to the battleship's gangplank, Churchill restrained him by gently petting his head – a moment caught on film for posterity.
Blackie's encounter with the great man resulted in his receiving new name, “Churchill”. Although the re-monikered mascot survived the sinking of the Prince of Wales later that year and managed to make it to Singapore, he could not be found when the order came to evacuate the colony's naval base in early 1942.