Friday, 25 January 2008

Voytek - The Polish Soldier Bear

Reading the BBC News website, you do often find some stories that actually both make you smile, laugh and show you a more quirky part of our history- one I read today made fascinating reading.

Polish soldiers fighting for the Allies in World War Two came across a bear roaming the mountains in Iran- somehow- and all ex or serving soldiers will know how - they managed to get the bear back to Scotland. When they were then sent to fight in Italy, the only way they could take the bear with them was to enlist him. so the bear was given a name and rank. It even helped carry mortar rounds during battles in Italy.

The bear is also remembered by Polish troops for his ability to smoke and drink beer.

The bear ended up in Edinburgh Zoo, where he died in 1963. A book about the bear is planned and now a campaign is starting for an erection of a statue.

After the dismal news about Peter Hain yesterday, at least we have a story here to put a smile back on your face. To read more about the bear check out the full story here .


Marco said...

May I point out that Polish troops did not fight for the allies. Polish troops were allies.

Alasdair Ross said...

My mistake- Poland and many other countries were our allies, and we must remember those Poles, Czechs and others who gave their lives not only to liberate their own countries but also to defend Britain. We will always owe them.

Anonymous said...

I have a bear called Wojtek.My parents were Polish and I got a bear when I was 11.I am now 58 and I still have him.My 2 girls grew up with him and he was well loved.Now he wears a smoking jacket and a scarf.Mainly to keep him intact.

Marco said...

Talking about smoking jackets. During the WWII, some Polish troops traveling on trains in Britain would board NO SMOKING carriages and promptly light up cigarettes. The word 'smoking' in Polish means smoking jacket.