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BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 07 November 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1329
  1. Colin Douglas, doctor and novelist
  1. Edinburgh

    In the sunlit harbour a dozen warships lie neatly alongside. Ashore, hundreds of sailors relax as they always do: sightseeing,keeping fit, buying gifts, or just drinking lots of beer in a faded little garrison town that looks south across Morocco and north into Spain. In a few days the shipswill put to sea, take the first right past Cape Trafalgar, and go home.

    The previous year, after a similar annual fleet exercise and at very …

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