Document Sample
                                                                                                                                      Close-up of the
                                                                                                                                       USMC “Tuefel
                                                                                                                                         Hunden” by
                                                                                                                                      Martin Ritchie.

   Text and Photos: James H. Hillestad

  James H. Hillestad reflects on the unique
  and at times bizarre roles played by animals
  such as goats, sheep and elephants in
  British military history and traditions

            hen stationed                            as “official” mascots.                commanding officer of the regiment asked one
            overseas, British                            Official mascots are those        of his soldiers whether he could try to rescue
            soldiers often                           recognized by the British             the animal. The soldier agreed and off he went,
            adopted an                               Army Honours and Distinction          braving heavy gunfire.
            extraordinary                            Committee. Such mascots, of               Commemorating the successful deed, the
            menagerie of                             which there are nine, receive a       ram received the Indian Mutiny medal, which is
  animals. Some of these                             regimental number, assume a           worn on a beautifully embroidered coat to this
  remained pets, some rose to                        proper rank (with prospects for       day. The 95th soldier’s reward for rescuing the
  become regimental mascots                          promotion) and get a fair share       ram is unknown.
  and a few became recognized                        of Army rations.
                                                         Some mascots are indicative
                                                     of the recruiting area of a
                                                     regiment. Examples include the                         Sherwood Foresters
                                                     Staffordshire bull terrier, Irish                       ram by Caberfeidh.
                                                     wolfhound and Welsh goats.

                                                     BUNKER HILL GOAT
                                                     The earliest record of a
                                                     regimental mascot is a goat
                                                     adopted by the Royal Welch
                                                     Fusiliers during the American
                                                     Revolutionary War. After
                                                     wandering into the Battle of
                                                     Bunker Hill during the 1775
                                                     Siege of Boston, the goat
                                                     wound up leading the Fusiliers’
                                                     Regimental Colours off the
                                                         The mascot of the 95th
                                                     Regiment (later the Sherwood
                                                     Foresters) originated in the
                                                     Indian Mutiny of 1857, when                                                   Royal Regiment
                                                     a ram had been tethered to a                                                 of Wales goat by
                                                     stake awaiting consumption                                                       Caberfeidh.
          Cigarette card depicting “The
          Bear of the Royal Horse Guards.”           by the mutineers. The

                                      Irish Guards                           Royal Irish
                                     wolfhound by                          wolfhound by
                                       Caberfeidh.                          Caberfeidh.

14 | Toy Soldier & Model Figure
 Argyll and Sutherland                                              Durham Light
 Highlanders pony by                                                Infantry goat by
 Caberfeidh.                                                        Caberfeidh.

SHETLAND PONIES                   Argyll. The horse’s name
The Imperial Light Horse of       was Cruachan, the war cry of
South Africa have as their        the Campbells
mascot “Queen’s Hussar I.”        of Argyll.
The black Shetland pony was            Noteworthy was his green                        Imperial Light Horse
given the name because of the     shabrack with yellow border                          pony by Caberfeidh.
late Queen Mother’s special       -- the regimental colors.
affection for the mascot and      Cruachan was playful, though
the Light Horse’s regimental      on one occasion he kicked a
alliance with the 4th Queen’s     drum major. The offense was
Own Hussars. A plume in           not taken quite as seriously as
regimental green and gold is      it might have been because
fitted to the top of the pony’s   the drum major was a Gordon
bridle.                           Highlander.
     The Argyll and Sutherland         The Parachute Regiment
Highlanders were presented        also took a Shetland pony as
with a Shetland pony in 1929      a mascot. It was named after
by their Colonel-in-Chief, HRH    Pegasus, the winged horse of
the Princess Louise, Duchess of   Greek mythology.

  Argyll and Sutherland
  Highlanders pony by
  Drill Square.
                                                                    Royal Welch
                                                                    goat by

                                                                                          Toy Soldier & Model Figure | 15
    Parachute                                             The 66th Regiment’s                  Royal Welch
    regiment pony                                         mascot Bobbie by                     Fusiliers goat by
    by Caberfeidh.                                        Trophy.                              Drill Square.

                                                         was later promoted to flight
                                                             When the 2nd Battalion,
                                                         Middlesex Regiment, returned
                                                         home from South Africa in
                                                         February 1903, the soldiers
   DON THE BABOON                                        brought with them a rather
  Frederick, a South African pink-breasted pelican,      special mule named Jimson.
  was recruited into the Royal Air Force by              He served with them through
  members of the Central Flying School in 1971. He       two wars, carrying ammunition
  began in the rank of “Senior Under Pelican” and        under fire in India and South
                                                             Jimson was dressed out in a
                                        RAF pelican by   lemon-yellow shabrack (yellow
                                                         being the color of the regiment’s
                                                         facings), edged with scarlet and
                                                         bearing the Prince of Wales’s
                                                         feather crest. In addition, the
                                                         mule was decorated with a red
                                                         and white throat plume.
                                                             The Middlesex Regiment
                                                         also brought back Don, a pet

                                                         ANTELOPE HALTS PARADE
                                                         Tradition has it that the Royal
                                                                                             Cigarette card portraying “Plassey, The Tiger
                                                         Warwickshire Regiment               Cub of the 102nd Royal Madras Fusiliers (Now
                                                         acquired the badge of an            1st Battln., Royal Munster Fusiliers).”

                                                          Middlesex Regiment
                                                          mule by Drill Square.

    Not to be overlooked, the U.S. Armed Forces
    are also known for their mascots. Highly
    visible at parades and sports events are the
    mascots of the various service academies and
    the Marine Corps.
        Since 1922, the USMC has used a bulldog
    as its mascot. Each has been named “Chesty”
    after the famous Marine Lt. Gen. Lewis B.
    “Chesty” Puller Jr. The dog lives at the Marine
    Barracks in Washington, D.C., where he
    appears in weekly parades.
        The adoption of a bulldog as a mascot
    was inspired by the name “Devil Dogs” or
    “Teufel Hunden,” given by the Germans to the
    Marines who fought so ferociously at Belleau
    Wood in World War I.
                               --James H. Hillestad

16 | Toy Soldier & Model Figure
                                                                                            Irish Guards
                                                                                            wolfhound by Drill

Dick the fox terrier of Rorke’s Drift fame by Trophy.

     When stationed overseas, British
     soldiers often adopted an extra-
ordinary menagerie of animals. Some
of these remained pets, some rose to
become regimental mascots and a few
became recognized as ‘official’                                                                                         Canadian Irish
                                                                                                                        wolfhound by
mascots.                                                                                                                Caberfeidh.

antelope in 1707 during the War                         King George V and proceeded
of the Spanish Succession. One                          to nibble the grass, thus halting
of the standards captured from                          the parade.
the Moors carried the antelope                              In 1968, the Royal Warwick-
as its emblem.                                          shire Regiment was absorbed
    The first live antelope dates                       into the Royal Regiment of
from 1871 and was obtained                              Fusiliers, where the tradition of
when the regiment was                                   the antelope mascot carries on.
stationed in India. The animal
was named Billy. Since then,
the mascots have been named                             BOXER BOUNCES BACK
variously Bobby and Charlie.                            The mascot tradition in the
    Though amenable to                                  regiments of Staffordshire
discipline, the antelopes have                          reaches back to the 19th
been known to have a mind of                            century, when the South
their own. At a military review                         Staffordshire Regiment was
in Aldershot, the then current                          ordered to march with Lord
mascot, Bobby, chose to lay                             Wolseley in an attempt to
                                                                                                                                               U.S. Naval
down as he was being led past                           relieve Gen. Charles Gordon,                                                     Academy goat by
                                                                                                                                           Martin Ritchie.

                             Sherwood Foresters          The Welch Regiment
                             ram by Drill Square.        goat by Drill Square.

                                                                                                                 Toy Soldier & Model Figure | 17
    U.S. Military Academy
    at West Point mule by                                                                                                                                                  Royal Warwickshire
    Martin Ritchie.                                                                                                                                                         Regiment Antelope
                                                                                                                         Regiment bull
                                                                                                                       terrier by Ducal.                                             by Ducal.

  who was besieged by Mahdists in Khartoum,                                                                                                   retreat. Nevertheless the
  Sudan. The regiment entrained at Cairo with their                                    IRISH BRIAN BORU                                       spunky dog managed to trek
  Staffordshire bull terrier named Boxer.                                             In 1902, the Irish Wolfhound                            some 50 miles from the scene
      Startled by the sudden noise of the                                             Club presented the Irish Guards                         of the defeat to the British lines
  locomotive’s engine as it departed, Boxer leaped                                    with a prize dog for a regimental                       in Kandahar, where he was
  from the moving train. He was seen lying,                                           mascot. He was named Brian                              reunited with his wounded
  presumed dead, at the side of the tracks.                                           Boru, after the famous King of                          owner and the regiment.
      A few days later, Boxer showed up at the                                        Ireland (926 to 1014).                                      Bobbie returned with the
  regiment’s encampment at Assiut -- very thin and                                        During ceremonial parades                           66th to England. Along with a
  bedraggled after having walked more than 200                                        the wolfhound always occupied                           group of soldiers receiving their
  miles along the railway tracks in the scorching                                     a position at the head of the                           Distinguished Conduct Orders,
  heat. This feat marked the beginning of the                                         regiment, led by the smallest                           Bobbie was presented to
  tradition of having a bull terrier as regimental                                    drummer boy.                                            Queen Victoria.
  mascot.                                                                                 To this day, the Irish Guards                           Sadly Bobbie was
                                                                                      is the only regiment in the                             accidentally run over by a
                                                                                      Household Division to have an                           hansom cab and killed in
    MASCOT GETS DEMOTED                                                               “official” mascot.                                      Gosport about a year later. The
    In a rare occurrence, a British military mascot                                                                                           dog was stuffed, decorated with
    was demoted in June 2006.                                                                                                                 an unknown soldier’s Afghan
        A 6-year-old goat named Billy was                                              LEGENDARY BOBBIE                                       War medal and put on display
    downgraded from the rank of lance corporal                                        Then there is the story of                              in the regimental museum in
    to fusilier -- the same status as a private.                                      Bobbie, a mongrel from                                  Salisbury.
        A member of the Royal Welch Fusiliers,                                        Reading who was the property
    Billy became uncontrollable while on parade                                       of Lance Sgt. Peter Kelly of the
    at a British base in Cyprus. In the presence of                                   66th (Berkshire) Regiment.                               RORKE’S DRIFT DICK
    United Nations dignitaries, he darted from side                                       Bobbie accompanied the                              Another illustrious dog was
    to side, throwing the soldiers off their stride.                                  66th to Afghanistan in 1880                             a fox terrier named Dick, the
        Capt. William Rose, who was present at                                        for service in the Second                               constant companion of Surgeon
    the parade, said that the goat “was trying to                                     Anglo-Afghan War. After the                             Major James Reynolds.
    head-butt the waist and nether regions of the                                     disastrous Battle of Maiwand,                               The physician was with
    drummers.”                                                                        in which the 66th suffered 62                           British troops who defended
                                 --James H. Hillestad                                 percent casualties, Bobbie                              Rorke’s Drift during the Anglo-
                                                                                      was lost during the survivors’                          Zulu War of 1879. Despite being

  The Parachute Regiment’s Shetland pony leads a parade of mascots from various W. Britain limited edition sets in the collection of TS&MF contributor Clyde Cocke. Following are the
  Royal Regiment of Fusiliers antelope, the Staffordshire Regiment bull terrier, the Royal Irish Rangers Irish wolfhound and the Royal Welch Fusiliers goat. (Photo by Eilene Harkless Moore)

18 | Toy Soldier & Model Figure
Dorset set depicting Sir Nils Olav, penguin mascot of the
Norwegian King’s Guard, reviewing a detachment after being
knighted in Edinburgh in 2008. (Photo by Giles Brown, Dorset Soldiers)

attacked by overwhelming numbers, B Company,
2nd Battalion, 24th Foot, managed to repel the                                    HIGHLANDERS’ ELEPHANT               Cigarette card showing
                                                                                                                      “Pet Crane, 16th Lancers.”
Zulus after a 12-hour siege.                                                      A most conspicuous mascot
    Dick appears in a famous painting of the                                      was the elephant of the 78th
battle by Adolph Alphonse de Neuville.                                            Highlanders (later Seaforth         W. Britain, Caberfeidh
                                                                                  Highlanders), acquired in           Miniatures of Scotland, Ducal
                                                                                  Ceylon in 1838. “The Elephant”      Models, Dorset Soldiers, Trophy
                                                                  The USMC’s      was thought appropriate as it       Miniatures of Wales Ltd. and
                                                             Chesty mascot by     commemorated the Battle of          Martin Ritchie of U.S. Military
                                                               Martin Ritchie.    Assaye in 1803.                     Miniatures. Photos of some
                                                                                      The elephant was brought        examples of 54-mm, painted
                                                                                  home to Scotland, where it          metal mascots accompany this
                                                                                  marched with the band, much         article.
                                                                                  to everyone’s delight.
                                                                                      Unfortunately, his keeper,
                                                                                  a Pvt. McIntosh, was fond of
                                                                                  his wee drams of whisky and
                                                                                  allowed the mascot to indulge
                                                                                  as well. The elephant took to
                                                                                  the habit, developed a mean
                                                                                  disposition and had to be
                                                                                  “transferred” to the Zoological
                                                                                  Society of Edinburgh.

                                                                                  KING PENGUIN
                                                                                  Though not affiliated with
                                                                                  the British military, probably
                                                                                  the most unusual mascot is
                                                                                  “Colonel-in-Chief Sir Nils Olav,”
                                                                                  a king penguin who resides in
                                                                                  Scotland. He was adopted as              U.S. Air Force
                                                                USMC “Tuefel                                           Academy falcon by
                                                                  Hunden” by
                                                                                  the mascot of the Norwegian             Martin Ritchie.
                                                                Martin Ritchie.   King’s Guards when they
                                                                                  participated in the Edinburgh
                                                                                  Military Tattoo in 1972.
                                                                                      Aug. 15, 2008, the penguin
                                                                                  was awarded a knighthood,
                                                                                  an honor approved by Harald
                                                                                  V, the King of Norway. Sir Nils
                                                                                  resides in the Edinburgh Zoo,
                                                                                  which has a penguin colony.           Martin Ritchie
                                                                                                                        US Military Miniatures
                                                                                                                        PO Box 323, Gilbert PA 18331
                                                                                  MINIATURE MASCOTS                     Tel: 610-681-5324
                                                                                  Given the colorful and at             Email:
                                                                                  times fanciful assortment
                                                                                  of regimental mascots, it is
                                                                                  not surprising that they have         ABOUT THE WRITER
                                                                                  captured the attention of a           James H. Hillestad is the proprietor
                                                                                  number of toy figure makers           of The Toy Soldier Museum and
                                                                                  past and present through the          shop in Cresco, Pa., USA.
                                                                                  years, including Drill Square,

                                                                                                                      Toy Soldier & Model Figure | 19

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