This was the intriguing title of the lecture given by the Revd William Strange, Vicar of St Peter's, Carmarthen, to the large number of members assembled in the church for their January meeting.

High up near the organ, one of the 80 memorials on the church walls, is a plaque to the memory of John Williams of Edwinsford, near Talley. Born into one of the foremost families in seventeenth century Carmarthenshire, the third son of Nicholas Williams, he entered the navy. His career is first noted on board the Kingfisher.

The Kingfisher was a warship built in 1675, designed to be disguised as a large merchant vessel. She was equipped with various means of altering her appearance, such as collapsible bulwarks, so that she could act as a decoy to combat the Barbary corsairs operating out of Algiers and Sallee on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. The pirates preyed on shipping not only in the Mediterranean but also on the traffic to the American colonies. Crews and passengers were sold as slaves and in 1631 Baltimore in southern Ireland was sacked and all 168 of its inhabitants carried away.

Kingfisher was commanded by Captain Morgan Kempthorne who as a boy had been with his father Sir John Kempthorne, one of the most distinguished seamen of his day, when he defeated seven Algerian pirates in 1670. She was cruising off the coast of Sicily in May 1681 when attacked by eight Algerian ships. Battle raged for ten hours, during which Kempthorne was killed, the ship was twice set on fire and several attempts at boarding her were repulsed. Seven crew members were killed and thirty-eight wounded. The Kingfisher was repaired at Livorno and Kempthorne was buried there. John Williams was discharged and probably lived in one of the family properties in Carmarthen. He died in 1688 at the age of 29. His epitaph has a curious reference, 'died a good Christian in the communion of the best Church, the Church of England'. This may well be because at the time of his death the throne was held by James II, known for his Catholic persuasion, but the monument was erected during the reign of William of Orange. Members of the Mediterranean fleet were then viewed with suspicion as supporters of James so this may have been an expression of loyalty to the established church to free the family from any accusation of being Jacobites.