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Sea Dog Bamse

History, Military, History & Adventure
Publication Date
02 September 2009
Paperback (also available as an eBook)
Available for Sale
Birlinn Ltd
16pp b/w plates

Sea Dog Bamse

World War II Canine Hero
by Angus Whitson and Andrew Orr - Find out more about the author


eBook also available at the iBookstore

’One of the most charming, enterprising, and charismatic characters in the story of World War II’ – Jilly Cooper

’Prepare to read this fantastic story in one sitting. Very highly recommended’ - Sea Breezes

’A well-researched, carefully crafted and hugely enjoyable account of one of the most remarkable animals to play a part in World War II’ - Aberdeen Press & Journal

This is the remarkable – and bestselling – story of one of the Second World War's most unusual animal heroes – a 14-stone St Bernard dog who became global mascot for the Royal Norwegian Forces and a symbol of freedom and inspiration for Allied troops throughout Europe, and captured hearts on both sides of the North Sea even sixty years after his death.

From a happy and carefree puppyhood spent as a family pet in the Norwegian fishing town of Honningsvåg, the gentle giant Bamse followed his master at the outbreak of the war to become a registered crew member of the mine-sweeper Thorodd. Often donning his own steel helmet as he took his place in the Torodd’s bow gun turret, Bamse cut an impressive figure and made a huge contribution to the morale of the crew, and he gallantly saved the lives of two of them.

After Norway fell to the Germans in 1940, the Thorodd operated from Dundee and Montrose, where Bamse became a well-known and much-loved figure, shepherding the Thorodd’s crew-members back to the boat at pub closing time, travelling on the local buses, breaking up fights and even taking part in football matches. Mourned both by locals and Norwegians when he died in 1944, Bamse’s memory has been kept alive both in Norway, where he is still regarded as a national hero, and in Montrose, where a larger-than-life statue of him was unveiled in 2006 by hrh Prince Andrew. Written from extensive source material and eyewitness accounts, Sea Dog Bamse is a fitting tribute to the extraordinary life of an extraordinary dog.

Angus Whitson studied law at Edinburgh University, and has worked as a solicitor, independent financial adviser and freelance copywriter. He writes the weekly column in the Dundee Courier, ‘Man With two Dogs’.

Andrew Orr worked as a GP in Montrose for many years. He is a founder member of the Montrose Heritage Trust and chairman of the Montrose Bamse Project.

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