While the United Kingdom was busy fighting the Nazis in 1940, it became necessary for them to purchase ships from America. At this point (apparently unknown to the Prime Minister) America was neutral, and, in fact, supplying arms and equipment to England and Germany!
Anyway, back to the ships! America supplied 50 derelict ships that were actually on their way to the scrapyard. What people don't know is that the price paid was SO high that England only finished paying the debt for them in 2008!
...but this story is full of twists! The very first time one of these ships was used on an exercise, something terrible went wrong. While loaded with sailors and troops on manoeuvres in Scottish waters, the ship exploded, killing all on board. Although this was covered up at the time to avoid a drop in troop morale, it has since been revealed that Naval Intelligence wrote letters to the families of the deceased, giving false reasons for the deaths.
Ever heard the story of a British officer drifting ashore with plans for an apparent invasion in his pocket? It has been used in films (such as "The Man That Never Was"), but surprisingly, the story is actually true. In an attempt to trick the Nazis, Naval Intelligence took a corpse, faked I.D. papers (as Acting Major William Martin of the Royal Marines), photos of his fictional sweetheart, "Pam", and most importantly, documents of a plan to invade Greece, then set him adrift in a dinghy off the coast of Spain. To cut a long story short, the Nazis believed this trick and moved troops and tanks to reinforce their divisions in Greece...
...not realizing that it was all a ruse because the Allies were about to invade Sicily instead!
Although it was claimed that the body was of a Welsh soldier who had committed suicide, Lt. Cmdr. Ewen Montagu of Naval Intelligence admitted in his published memoirs that the corpse was actually that of one of the sailors killed in Scotland when the aforementioned boat exploded! Whether this is actually true or not may never be known.
As a footnote, it is claimed that the idea for this ruse, called Operation Mincemeat, came from Ian Flemming, author of the James Bond books.
Look it up; it's a fascinating story!