Photo of Bamse’s statue by Karen Vernon | CC BY-SA 2.0 |  Wikimedia Commons

Bamse the Peacemaker

Bamse was a famous Saint Bernard that served upon a Norwegian ship during World War II, eventually becoming a heroic mascot for the Free Norwegian forces.

Although he has a cute name (“Bamse” meaning “cuddly bear” in Norwegian), Bamse was actually very tough! Such was his impact on the ship that he served that when the captain tried to take him when he left for another ship the rest of the crew threatened to leave the ship if he was taken away – they would rather have mutinied than lose him!

So why did the crew love Bamse so much? Apparently Bamse had a nearly legendary reputation in Dundee and Montrose where the ship was posted during World War II. Whenever sailors went out drinking, he was there to guide the drunken ones back safely to their post. Once, he even rescued a sailor who had fallen overboard by dragging him to safety.

As well as being a guide, Bamse was also well-known as a peacemaker, often putting a stop to fights simply by standing on his hind legs with his front legs on the sailor’s paws as if telling them to calm down. Once he even saved a sailor who had been corned by a knifeman by charging into the attacker from behind and dragging him into the water. During battle, Bamse would stand on the front gun tower of the boat, wearing a special metal helmet made for him by the crew

Due to his reputation, Bamse had a special bus made for him that allowed him to ride around on all buses in the area for free. As part of his assigned duty to round up the crew and escort them back to the ship for duty on time, he rode the bus by himself to Dundee, getting off at the crew’s favourite pub to fetch them.

Every Christmas he would dress up in a little sailor’s hat and allow his photo to be taken so that it could be put on Christmas cards and sent back to the sailor’s families back in Norway.

Such was Bamse’s legacy that in 2006 a £50,000 bronze memorial statue was unveiled by both British and Norwegian goverments in Montrose.

At Bowerland Holiday Cottages and Devon Dogs we provide specialist training workshops to help dogs with a variety of issues. Why not come along to one of our workshops and help your dog be like Bamse!

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Chris Green

About the Author: Chris Green manages the office at Bowerland Cottage Holidays and Devon Dogs, using his technical expertise to assist wherever needed. In his spare time he likes playing guitar and bass, and hiking around Dartmoor.


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