Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sea Dog Gets Honoured

A courageous sea dog who saved the lives of two sailors
in World War II and inspired many others has has been awarded the gold medal for gallantry and devotion from the PDSA veterinary charity more than 60 years after his death.

Bamse the St Bernard became a national hero in Norway for his efforts on board the minesweeper the Thorodd.
Bamse also became a local legend during his time stationed in Dundee and Montrose.

The dog saved a young Lieutenant who was attacked by a knife wielding psychopath who had sympathies towards the British fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley by ripping out the crazed maniacs throat and knocking the attacker into the water, he also rescued a sailor who had fell over board by jumping in after him and dragging him to shore. In fact all the sailors aboard the Thorodd kept a piece of bacon in their pockets as an incentive for Bamse to rescue them if they fell over board.

Bamse could tell Nazi collaborators just by their smell and uncovered 3 collaborators and 2 spies in his time, all of whom were questioned then later shot.

Bamse the 14 stone dog, whose name means cuddly bear, became a national hero and a symbol for freedom against Nazism in Norway and even had his own cereal and action figure.

He became such a symbol that Hitler ordered him shot on sight and tried to create his own propaganda dog, a German shepherd named wolfie but it never took off.

While ashore the friendly dog became a familiar sight in Dundee and Montrose, with his white sailor's collar and mariner's cap. He would lead the drunken sailors home from the pub and was given his own bus pass.

It is thought that Bamse had many girlfriends while in Scotland, the women in Dundee and Montrose remember him fondly.

Maple Morris of Arbroath recalls, " He was always such a gentleman and would pick up his own droppings. He would fetch things for you and never stick his nose up your bottom for a sniff uninvited unlike his fellow Norwegian sailors." She went on to remember him more," he had the longest tongue ever and really solid muscles, when he walked into the room everyone stopped and looked, he had presence."

In Scotland he was loved by the locals. On 22 July 1944 when he died all the schools in Montrose closed as a mark of respect.

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