Saturday January 7th, 2012
ImageWojtek a 6 foot bear who fought alongside Polish soldiers during the Second World War is to have a bronze statue made in honour of his service during the war.
Wojtek started off as the Polish Second Corps Mascot, however he was later officially drafted in as a private and fought along with his comrades. The big bear was known to enjoy a beer or two with the men and was even partial to the odd cigarette, however he chose to eat them rather than smoke them.
He stayed on site with the other soldiers in the tents or a special wooden crate that would be transported by truck. Wojtek even helped his fellow comrades carry ammunition during the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy.
When the war had finished Wojtek was drafted to Edinburgh Zoo where he would happily wave to visitors who in turn would speak polish words to him. Wojtek died there in 1963 at the age of 22.
The Wojtek Memorial Trust are now raising money for the bronze statue and hope to have a copy made that can be sent to Warsaw, as his comrades had always wanted to give him hero’s homecoming to Poland.
The trusts Aileen Orr said 'Wojtek brought a great deal of love to those who travelled with him.
'He represented all that had been lost to these men and women in the darkest times in World War Two.
'He was to them hope on legs, a trusted comrade who lived for them. He only knew soldiers, so he thought he was a soldier.'
They hope to have the statue finished and erected in 2012 and there are talks of having another statue erected in Monte Cassino in order to bring Scotland Poland and Italy together.
Good look guys.
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