Wartime mas­cots in­spire

Auckland City Harbour News - - Life Styles -

New Zealan­ders love their pets and wartime was no dif­fer­ent. www. nzhis­tory.net.nz tells the sto­ries of an­i­mal mas­cots who served their sol­diers with loy­alty and af­fec­tion.

The menagerie in­cludes dogs, cats, don­keys, mon­keys, pigs, goats and birds - over 30 mas­cots from Pelorus Jack to Pooch.

Our best-known World War Two mas­cot was Ma­jor Ma­jor, No 1 New Zealand Dog of the 19th In­fantry Bat­tal­ion.

He worked with his unit through­out Egypt, Libya and Syria and was pro­moted to the rank of ma­jor in 1942.

Sergeant Noo­dles, a white samoyed, was a val­ued mem­ber of 21 Bat­tal­ion. Noo­dles was an ex­am­ple to the un­tidy, for he was al­ways cor­rectly dressed in a red and khaki cover, on the side of which was at­tached his three stripes of rank.

He wore his NZEF badge on his col­lar.

In 1916 Cae­sar the bull­dog, a trained Red Cross dog, helped stretcher-bear­ers find wounded sol­diers in no-man’s land at night dur­ing the Bat­tle of the Somme. He was a mem­ber of the A Co, 4th Bat­tal­ion, New Zealand Ri­fle Brigade.

A slow lau­ris, a noc­tur­nal mam­mal, was an un­usual choice of mas­cot by B Com­pany, 1RNZIR Re­serve pla­toon at Nanga Mepi in Sarawak, Bor­neo in 1965.

A me­dia gallery of images at http://www. nzhis­tory.net.nz /me­dia_ gallery/tid/1802 gives an in­sight into a softer side of war­fare.

Mem­bers of the pub­lic are in­vited to con­trib­ute their sto­ries, pho­tos and mem­o­ries of mil­i­tary mas­cots to the web fea­ture.

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