A celebration of the sea dog Bamse, a mascot of the Norwegian Navy during the Second World War, took place in Montrose yesterday.
Bamse was known for his courage on board the minesweeper KNM Thorodd and endeared himself to Scots when the vessel was stationed at Dundee and Montrose during the war. The St Bernard would regularly take part in football matches, round up sailors from local pubs at the end of the day and is even credited with stopping bar fights and a knife attack at Dundee docks. This year marks the 70th anniversary of Bamse’s death and, as they have done every decade since the war, the Royal Norwegian Navy sent a vessel to Montrose, the Aalesund, to mark the occasion. Sailors from the Aalesund paraded along Wharf Street to the town’s Bamse statue, joined by more than 20 St Bernards, sea cadets and the pipe band of Lathallan School. A crowd of several hundred people lined the streets to watch the procession. A commemoration ceremony in then took place in front of guests, who included Vigdis Hafto, the daughter of Bamse’s original owner, Captain Erling, Hafto and Kristina Hansen, the mayor of Nordkapp Kommune, the original home of Bamse. Mrs Hafto said: “My father would be very proud that the legend of Bamse still continues. It is a very proud day for me to see so much affection for him in Scotland.” Dignitaries included Angus Provost Helen Oswald and Lord Lieutenant of Angus Georgiana Osborne. Mrs Oswald said: “The heroic endeavours of the sea dog during the Second World War are well documented and entirely deserving of the recognition that they have achieved. “What is equally deserving of celebration are the bonds of friendship which have formed (between Norway and Scotland) over the years.” After the commemoration, entertainment was provided by the Gordon School of Dancing, which performed the Bamse Hornpipe, and songwriter Gary Anderson, who sang the new composition, Bamse’s Song.
The St Bernard dog became a symbol of the Norwegian Navy during World War Two.
He was known for his courage on board the minesweeper KNM Thorodd and endeared himself to Scots when the vessel was stationed at Dundee and Montrose during the war.
Bamse would regularly take part in football matches, round up sailors from local pubs at the end of the day and is even credited with stopping bar fights and a knife attack at Dundee docks.
The event in Montrose around his statue, was held to mark the 70th anniversary of his death.
Sailors from visiting Norwegian Army vessel Aalesund were joined by the Pipe Band of Lathallan School and local cadets in a parade.
More than 20 St Bernard dogs also joined the procession.
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