Published on February 8th, 20132
The Cats that Fought in World War II – The Allies
By Tor G. Jakobsen
It is maybe not the most well-known fact among the general public. Even so, truth is that cats are the unsung heroes of the Second World War. We in Popular Social Science are happy to tell the untold stories of the kittens that helped liberate Europe, and the Nazi tabbies who almost took Europe back to the Dark Ages.
In this first part we will tell the story of the allied cats, before moving on to the swasticats and the communist cats in the following week.
The black cat with the suiting name served as the ship cat of HMS Prince of Wales in the British Royal Navy. He participated in naval battles both in the Denmark Strait and in the Mediterranean. The former was fought between British and German ships in May 1941. Blackies ship traded blows with the Bismarck of the German Kriegsmarine.
Blackie received worldwide fame after he had his picture taken together with Winston Churchill, who was on his way to meet with US President Franklin D. Roosevelt to sign the Atlantic Charter. This charter defined the allied goals for the post-war world.
In 1936 the cat Faith was accepted at the church in the congregation of St. Augustine on Watling Street. During the early stages of the war she was roaming the streets of Britain’s capital. In 1940 she gave birth to a kitten, which was called Panda. The birth was celebrated by the clergy.
However, for unknown reasons Faith moved Panda into the cold basement. The following day London was bombed by the German Luftwaffe. The church was severely damaged, as was much of the neighborhood. Yet, both Faith and the kitten survived, and her bravery became well known throughout London.
Oscar – Die Bordkatze der Bismarck (Unsinkable Sam)
Why have we in Popular Social Science categorized a swasticat together with the allied cats? Well, the story of Oscar is perhaps the most intriguing of all. Oscar (later Sam) was originally the nemesis of Blackie the cat, fighting against him aboard the Bismarck in the battle of the Denmark Strait.
However, Bismarck was sunk in that battle, and Oskar was subsequently rescued from the water by the British destroyer HMS Cossack. He thus became an allied cat.
In October 1941 HMS Cossack was torpedoed by a German U-boat, and Sam (Oscar had gotten an allied name now) was once again rescued, and transferred to the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. He had now gotten his nickname “Unsinkable Sam.”
Then the HMS Ark Royal was torpedoed as well, and Sam was once again transferred, first to HMS Lightning and later HMS Legion. He survived the war, and went on to enjoy his retirement days in Belfast.