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ISBN:
9781843410652
Categories
Military, History & Adventure
Imprint
Birlinn
Publication Date
05 June 2014
Format
Paperback (also available as an eBook)
Status
Available for Sale
Publisher
Birlinn Limited
Extent
224
Illustrations
8pp b/w plates

Wojtek the Bear

Polish War Hero

 

eBook also available at the iBookstore

Epilogue by Neal Ascherson

'It’s hard not to love that big bear Wojtek. He speaks to the heart' - The Thoughtful Blogger

‘It is both moving and amusing’ – Lord David Steel

This is the inspiring true story of one of the Second World War’s most unusual combatants – a 500-pound cigarette-smoking, beer-drinking brown bear. Originally adopted as a mascot by the Polish Army in Iran, Wojtek soon took on a more practical role, carrying heavy mortar rounds for the troops and going on to play his part as a fully enlisted ‘soldier’ with his own rank and number during the Italian campaign. After the war, Wojtek, along with some of his Polish compatriots from II Corps, came to Berwickshire, where he became a significant member of the local community before subsequently moving to Edinburgh Zoo. Wojtek’s retirement was far from quiet: a potent symbol of freedom and solidarity for Poles around the world, he attracted a huge amount of media interest that shows no sign of abating more than 45 years after his death. In an extended introduction, journalist and historian Neal Ascherson reflects on the Polish experience in the Second World War and gives full recognition to the Poles’ heroic sacrifice and the extraordinary influence they had on the countries in which they served.

Aileen Orr was born and raised in Lockerbie before going on to study at the London School of Economics. After working for the Bank of America she joined and headed a new political team as regional director of the Countryside Alliance. She is now an advisor to Michael Russell MSP./br>






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