Ships Pets And Mascots

Not sure if this topic has been raised before but I think it was a significant part of navy life with jacks' liking for creatures from the old favourite , the dog , to the many others no doubt remembered with affection by many . The most remembered for me as one who did two commissions at S/M 4 , Nigger was the squadron mascot for years until killed in a m/v accident . Many submariners knew him and remember his loyalty to anyone smelling of diesel . A remarkable example of dogs affinity with humans. There were others of course from the monkey on Alderney when running from 'Derry . When refitting in Singas the bunting had an effing cockatoo that squarked all the time and was a PITA . One of the oilys bought a mongoose that escaped and ended up in the Malays soup pot. There was also a monkey involved but he was left when the boat sailed from Singas .


Lantern Swinger
When I was on the Eskimo in 1973 the greenies had a goldfish which led to a lot of speculation as to whether it got seasick or not. When it died it was given a full-on funeral on the quarterdeck and buried at sea.

Another mess (PO's I think) had a hamster which escaped - was never caught - and was occasionally seen by the middle watchmen scurrying up the passageway. It presumably thought there might be scran in the dining hall and hanging around down aft by the laundry might not be a good idea ! I actually have photos of both of these somewhere - Have to dig them out.

The hamsters reminded me of one ' boat ' I was on and the gingerbeer kept a few hamsters in the wardroom as some nind of therapy I believe . Forget how many there was but it or they escaped never to be seen again that I recall . Yes the monkey on the Alderney jumped on the motor room switches I believe and was killed . Funny little bugger , had a set of bells and all , drank porters like a three badgeman .


Lantern Swinger
2D2 mess hms invincible first trip i kept seamonkeys ! till some drunken met member came back from ashore and drank em ! rip boys gone but not forgotten o_O


War Hero
Book Reviewer
There used (1956/7) to be a pair of breeding monkeys by the sick quarters in HMS Terror in Singapore. I believe this was the source of HMS Newfoundland's monkey 'Charlie' who lived on rum and fagends in the starboard tube space. HMS Cossack had two, one forward ('Sippers') which belonged to the GI - saw him dhobying it out once, strayline from beast to dhobi bucket, monkey in right hand in all round grasp at lower band, bar of busser's hard in left hand, rub vertically together at 120 to the minute dunking monkey on downward stroke (loud complaint from monkey on up stroke).The other monkey, 'Jansen', lived in the after 4.5 mounting and had a small piece of rag with which it kept the layer's sight glass clean. Its recreation was to leap out suddenly and bite people on their way to Both Watches.
On joining the Fearless in 84 the skipper had a Tortoise! What was funny is that it had an illuminous stripe on it's back so no one would tread on it in the Ops Room which as you may or may not know was on the same deck as the old man's cabin. Quite amusing at times. Don't think it got issued anti-flash though!!


War Hero
I had a pet starfish called Simon when I was on Fearless, it only lasted a week before I got bored with it and chuked it back in the ogin, boring as fcuk for a pet, didn't do any tricks, unsociable and refused to drink Grolsch.
Anyone have any details of the ZOO that used to be on Whale Island, you can still find the gravestones just down from the Armoury today. Believe most were killed at the begining of WW2 due to fear of bombing?
Dunno but there was a pig rescued form a sinking German Cruiser in 1915 that became a mascot untill it was raffled off as Pork raising over £1200 for the War effort.


Book Reviewer
HMS Repulse, Port Crew 1st patrol of the 1st commission had a number of passengers on board - fertilised chicken eggs, one of which hatched to produce a chick called Fang.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Is this Kent's pig? While hunting up and down the coast of Chile for SMS Dresden, in February 1915 HMS Kent was presented from shore with a live pig by a local Englishman. The pig was very popular and seemed to enjoy life but disliked being washed and always protested vigorously. In the end the Ship’s Company refused to let it be killed so it was transferred (or bartered) to another ship, probably one which showed it less affection.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
In 1916 the light cruiser Intrepid came back to Chatham from Archangel, where her ship's company, to save the animal from a Russian cooking-pot, had bought a baby bear. Fortified by condensed milk, tinned jam and rum, the beast grew until by the time she arrived in Blighty she was a fine specimen of bear-hood, spherical, but agile as a cat up the rigging.

Ignoring the fact that she was in quarantine, one December dusk she decided to go sightseeing. Hurtling between the legs of the Royal Marine gangway-sentry and so sending him flying, she loped off to explore the dockyard. Quite soon she came upon some dockyard mateys, celebrating their exclusion from trench warfare with a tin of purloined navy jam, with which they were making sandwiches in a hitherto unobserved skive-hole.

Miss Bruin decided to join the party but the mateys, their courage well indicated by their choice of war-work, took flight, one clutching the jam tin which left a trail all down his overalls and onto the roadway. As the ditty goes: "I've seen a Dockyard matey run; yes, by God, I've seen it done.." Pausing only to lick up the droppings, Bruin chased along, pushing after him into the ground floor office of Medway House. Temporarily ignoring the screams of a Wren clerk who had taken ineffectual refuge on top of a table, the bear laid the matey carefully out on the floor and commenced to lick him clean, first one side, roll him over and then the other. The office then being jam-free, Bruin pottered off in search of other excitements. Intrepid's search party, which had been searching a dark dockyard for a dark bear on a dark night, by now caught up and led her back on board.

Authority took offence at Bruin's run ashore. The bear was smuggled out of Chatham in a piano-case and consigned by train to the home of one of the quartermasters who had hitherto been honorary bear-keeper. What Mrs Quartermaster made of the delivery is not recorded. After wrecking their little cottage the bear was eventually found asylum in a zoo and so passed out of naval history.

(Dit lifted from Captain Gwatkin Williams' "Under the Black Ensign" (Hutchinson))
Bismarck, the German battleship, was sunk on 27 May 1941. Of more than 2200 men on board, only 116 survived — together with Oscar, the ship's cat (left). He was picked up by the British destroyer HMS Cossack, but that too was torpedoed a few months later, on 24 October, with the loss of 159 lives. Attempts to rescue the ship failed, and it was abandoned and sank two days later. Oscar survived again, was taken to Gibraltar, and then was taken on by HMS Ark Royal. His stay there was even shorter, as the aircraft carrier was torpedoed by U-81 on 13 November, eventually capsizing and sinking only 30 miles (50 km) from Gibraltar. Yet again Oscar was lucky — but there were no more ships for him, as it was decided that his presence was certainly not lucky! By now known as 'Unsinkable Sam', this great survivor among cats stayed as mouse-catcher in the Governor General of Gibraltar's office buildings until he was taken by a brave ship to Belfast, in Northern Ireland (although some reports say Plymouth). There he lived until his death in 1955, at the 'Home for Sailors'. A portrait of him has a place of honour in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, on the River Thames near London.
andym said:
Dunno but there was a pig rescued form a sinking German Cruiser in 1915 that became a mascot untill it was raffled off as Pork raising over £1200 for the War effort.
:p :laughing5: That's no way to treat an ossifer... even a German one! :evil4:
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