- May 13, 2021 at 2:25 pm #21676Sam WillisKeymaster
The latest episode of the Mariner’s Mirror Podcast is all about the wonderful story of maritime pets. Pat Sullivan at the Museum of Maritime Pets is collecting any maritime pet story you may have come across! Please reply to this post with your stories – they are the type of thing that you will come across incidentally in research so I hope there are plenty out there. Now’s the time to let them out for a walk.May 15, 2021 at 4:43 pm #21681Malcolm LewisParticipant
In 1954 a German circus was stranded in Malta with insufficient funds in the bank to get them to their next booking across the water in Sicily with all their performers and animals. They appealed to the Navy for possible assistance. Admiral Lord Mountbatten was C in C Mediterranean at the time and saw this as a good task for his Amphibious Warfare Squadron which was based in Valletta. LCT 4040, a D-Day veteran was designated, and her “passengers” duly arrived on the dockside, including a bear, several ponies, a caged tiger and two large elephants. The small crew of the LCT rose to the task of welcoming their unusual passengers in true naval fashion and the ship was soon on her way sailing down Grand Harbour and heading out to sea.
Suddenly, as she passed the C in C’s office window, which overlooked the harbour, 4040’s Tannoy blared out the tune “There’s no business like show business!”.
MalcolmMay 15, 2021 at 4:45 pm #21682Malcolm LewisParticipant
The Podcast brought back memories of Sippers, the only Manx dog in the Royal Navy. Sippers was the ship’s dog. A cheerful mongrel serving aboard the Algerine minesweeper “Rifleman” of the 4th Mine Sweeping Squadron in the Mediterranean in the 1950s. He lived in the for’d messdeck but spent much time on the sweep deck when we were on duty. In harbour he always sat proudly alongside the coxswain in the ship’s motor boat. His enthusiasm for being in the motor boat led him to lose his tail when one day it got wrapped around the boat’s propeller shaft, which sadly led to it being permanently shortened – ouch!
I never forgot Sippers and, when I got a dog of my own, it had to be given the same name… always the subject of people’s curiosity as to how my dog, a black lab who loved swimming, got his name.
To the best of my knowledge, Rifleman’s Sippers never sipped rum. For the uninitiated, a sailor always rewarded any favours done with a sip of his own daily tot. The rum ration was abolished in 1970.
Malcolm LewisJune 11, 2021 at 9:36 am #21835Kimberley BParticipant
Having just manged to listen to the podcast about the Museum of Maritime Pets, it reminded me of this website I found when browsing through the internet a few years ago Purr ‘n’ Fur by Patrick Roberts. I lost many hours page hopping, mostly through the histories of wartime cats, as it covered two of my favourite topics. There is an excellent piece on Able Sea cat Simon which really delves into his life, and I found useful when writing a piece about him for my Local Cats Protection Magazine.July 19, 2021 at 12:53 pm #21935Cathy SParticipant
Rather belatedly, I have just listened to – and thoroughly enjoyed – the Mariner’s Mirror podcast featuring the Museum of Maritime Pets. What a wonderful idea!
I am an enrichment speaker on maritime heroes, and during lockdown and no cruises, I created a pack of Monumental Maritime Heroes playing cards https://seashellcommunications.co.uk/shop . Each card is illustrated by a monument, plaque, pub sign, painting etc to the heroes, navigators, pirates and ships of the Age of Sail, who are accompanied by an information leaflet and timeline.
The pack includes Matthew Flinders and his cat Trim, who was mentioned in the podcast, and I have attached a photo of the card, showing the statue of Matthews and Trim outside Euston station in London created by sculptor Mark Richards.
Curiously, in 2019 I was visiting a modern HMS Pickles at Bucklers Hard, and chatted to a couple in the car park. Not only was their surname Trim, but their son David had just donated a model of HMS Pickle (the ship that brought the news of Nelson’s victory, and his death, back to England) made by her father Victor Gray. The model was one of two he’d made, the other he’d presented to the Queen in 1957 as a gift for Prince Charles.
One of my talks is on circumnavigator William Dampier, and this is an excerpt:
Everything – and everyone – was rationed, including the animals. “The kettle was boiled but once a day,” Dampier recorded, “and there was no occasion to call the men to victuals. All hands came up to see the quartermaster share it, and he had need to be exact. We had two dogs and two cats on board, and they likewise had a small allowance given them, and they waited with as much eagerness to see it shared as we did.”
Whom Magazine voted Dampier Man of the Year 1686, as being a ‘delicious buccaneer and lover of cats!
Attachments:You must be logged in to view attached files.July 20, 2021 at 7:00 am #21940Patricia SParticipant
Pat Sullivan here. Have been remiss in not checking in for follow-up posts to our May 13 Podcast. Thank you all for the great stories which keep these passenger and working pets front and center! We’ve also been getting private messages on Twitter and emails.
Kudos to Sam Willis!July 20, 2021 at 11:53 am #21942Cathy SParticipant
Flinders and Trim playing card [see previous post] from the Monumental Maritime Heroes pack, created and published by Sea Shell Communications 2020; available from http://www.seashellcommunications.co.uk/shop or for bulk orders, please contact email@example.com
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